Lately, I've noticed something that is by no means a new occurrence, but is something that I think is becoming even more prevalent. More and more often I see people experiencing their world through a phone screen (no, I'm not referring to Pokémon Go!). We are out with our friends, but are checking Facebook or texting someone else, instead of making eye contact and enjoying the company. When something amazing happens, instead of enjoying the moment, we rush to grab our phones to capture and share it. There is an almost nervous twitch that I have witnessed hit many a people when they realize that their phone isn't within reaching distance. For goodness sake, we even take our phones to the bathroom with us because heaven forbid we aren't constantly entertained.
On that note, something magical happens when you put the phone down. (Just. put. the. phone. down.) A moment takes on new meaning when it is simply experienced, not recorded and perfected for public consumption. If you're struggling, here are a few things that I enjoy watching and experiencing, all without a device touching on or near body.
One of nature's most amazing shows happens every day, twice a day. That's right! The sunrise and the sunset. Whether you're a morning lark or a night owl, you have the chance to take one of these in every single day. It doesn't have to take a long time, either. Just spend a few minutes looking up at the sky and enjoy the rich, vibrant colours that will never be exactly the same again.
Have a real conversation - listen to someone's voice and watch their face as they talk about something they feel passion for. Nothing light's up someone's entire being like passion does. Or, watch a loved one's face after you give them a compliment. What a great feeling that you brought that smile to their lips and that sparkle to their eyes. Maybe you made them blush - nice work! Laugh until your tummy hurts with them, cry with them if the moment calls for it, hug them!
Spend some time in nature. Watch the birds flying overhead and the river water rush over multi-coloured rocks. Watch ants busily carrying food to their colony and bees and butterflies collecting nectar and pollen. Watch big, fluffy white clouds float across the sky and imagine that they are dragons, or cats, or cotton candy. Be in awe of the starry night sky. Feel the grass or sand between your toes and the sun on your face. Watch the leaves fall from the trees in the fall, the lightning crack the sky in the summer, and the snow float to the ground in the winter.
Watch your child's face when they discover something new. Whether it's the taste of dirt or the tickly feeling that their tummy gets when they ride a swing. Watch their smile as they eat a sticky, roasted marshmallow and listen to them shriek with delight when they get doused during a water fight.
Be entranced by the hypnotizing flames of a backyard fire while you enjoy your friends' company. Listen to the crackly sound of the wood as it burns and enjoy the campfire smell as it envelops your clothes and hair. Feel the cool night air on one side of your body and the heat from the fire on the other.
Watch someone doing something that brings them joy - it's best when they don't know you're watching. My husband is a master woodworker and I love watching him through the entire process of a project. The concentration on his face while he plans it all out on paper, the determination as he makes his first cuts, his deliberate movements as he puts it all together, and the pride and satisfaction after he completes yet another amazing project.
You get one life. Give it your undivided attention.
My challenge to you: go out and experience the world with your whole body and all of your senses. Chances are you won't miss your phone at all.