I’m a fan of Twitter and Facebook and find these and other sites help me connect with lots of different people for work and personal reasons I wouldn’t otherwise talk to. I think our use of these and other social networking tools helps fill a desire to be known by and connected to others. However, we should beware that filling our lives with technological tasks can, in some cases, actually reduce our true connectivity.
You’ve seen the friends who post details of their vacation every day and let you know when they stop for coffee. They air their grievances online. They carry their cell phone everywhere and never turn it off. They text in the middle of a dinner party. You probably know a lot more of these individuals than folks who take time out for silence.
Our frenetic pace doesn’t often allow for quiet time, for thinking, contemplation, prayer or meditation, for spending relaxing unstructured time with spouses and close family members. The wisest, calmest people you know probably allow themselves time of solitude. When we don’t take time for the bigger picture, we can begin to feel overwhelmed. We may even reach out to our social network to tell them how overwhelmed we feel or to complain about our busy schedule, which does little to solve the problem.
Many folks are finding they need to “unplug” from technology (including TV, ipods, cell phones and radio) for periods of time to help recharge their batteries, both for the more structured planning, praying or reading/learning type of activities, and for non-structured relaxed activities like taking a walk or bike ride or watching a sunset. I personally find that during these unstructured times, I often will find insight into a problem or a great idea that helps me with a project.
When you are lucky enough to be married, you have a partner for life, and someone you can truly know and be known by, an answer to our true desire to be connected. Once you allow yourself time of solitude to know yourself well, you can share yourself more effectively with your partner. Don’t allow gadgets or devices to get in the way of your personal sharing or to take away the valuable time you may need to reconnect.
This fall is the perfect time of year to appreciate the changing foliage together with your spouse while you share your feelings and discuss one another’s goals, challenges or concerns. Take time to listen and share. Don’t tweet about it, and don’t post a photo of the experience on your personal web page. Give yourself time to know your spouse and to be known. That’s true connectivity.
What gets in the way of your personal solitude or your true connectivity? Is there a way you can remove any obstacles?