The more we appear to be connected via apps, email, messaging etc, the more I sometimes feel that we disconnect from each other. Sure, it is super helpful when you are meeting a friend in crowded place and you are running late that you can let her know that right away. Or when you forgot your grocery lost and, voila!, it appears like magic on your screen. All great, super, handy, efficient etc etc. I get it. But what about really connecting with others?
A few months ago I was at a training and one of the speakers, an incredibly dynamic and interesting woman, Colette Carlson, had the hardest slot of the two-day training - the very last slot. She carried it off with style, and had all of us perched on our seats as she concluded her talk about connection. How it is ingrained in us, how we need it to stay healthy and be fulfilled. More than that, how necessary it is to pay attention to not only others and connect with them, but also to connect with ourselves. It gave me a lot to think about, and I was grateful for the time she took for me afterwards with my questions.
Since then I have been reading more about connection across all kinds of media; it appears that quite a few of us are realizing how important this is. We tend to forget how often and how long we spend on our devices... A few weeks ago I started a small experiment - whenever someone asked for my attention I would make a conscious effort to not look or touch my phone for as long as I was engaged in talking to that person. Boy, was that hard at first, and quickly I realized how dependent I was on checking my messages and email...
Last week a colleague took me aside and asked for some of my time. In the meeting room my phone was on the table between us, and as she started to share with me how rude her boss had been to her and how upset she was and asked for my advice I felt my arm move to my phone to... move it aside and switch off the ringer without even looking at it. I focused on her and her story, and on nothing else. I listened and connected with her. She did not need my advice, she did not need to hear me tell her that I knew what she was going through. She needed me to listen and connect, and I was so grateful that I was reminded in time by Colette's speaking slot of how important and powerful connection is.