Tuesday, September 7, 2010

+ lessons from my mini sabbatical +

[ credit : parker fitzgerald ]

This won't flow. It is all blips and pieces of fragmented thoughts that came to me over the 72 hours I spent without a phone or computer. Some are more developed than others. The photos above were to prepare you for the words below. Enjoy.

.:. we have trained ourselves to look for beauty in other lives, not our own.

.:. we create relationships for ourselves. they are never forced upon us.

.:. the majority of conversations should take place in person, not via text.

.:. the moment technology stops being a resource and becomes a liability, it needs to be re-evaluated. immediately.

.:. social networking should be re-named theworldinyourbedroom.

.:. i have a new ability to see through an online presence and measure the true life content of a person.

.:. we are so dependant on our gps and maps because we live in a constant time crunch. i didn't use my gps this weekend. result: i had to turn around multiple times, and took several 'scenic routes.' i also saw many parts of my city for the first time, and had a few 'well let's see where this road goes' followed with 'oh my gosh here i am!' i put the puzzle pieces together. i feel rebuked for my desire to travel when i haven't taken the time to see my own city.

.:. the majority of my stress is a result of mis-managed relationships and poorly chosen staples of my daily life.

.:. my brain has invented some type of obligation to "finish" everything. pursue things forever. never drop something i began. if i follow a blog, i feel obligated to read every post, eternally. i've placed my interests first, and myself second. how ridiculous.

.:. our thought processes become influenced by the words and images that float around us, even if we do not consciously accept them. saturating ourselves in high-speed communication and heavy content input environments will launch us into a collective lifestyle that no individual could or should live in or up to. hello, stress.

.:. we don't write nearly enough.

.:. if you "don't write", then let me clarify: we don't reflect nearly enough.

- - -

Thoughts on social networking: (you knew it was coming)
We value communication over content. Let me break this down a bit more. We value the relationship over the person. And a bit further...

Social networking is a tool; nothing more, nothing less. It betters a good purpose and exacerbates a poor one. And like any tool, it is only healthy in moderation, and when the master controls it to fulfill the purpose. There is an inherent flaw in humanity that twists everything to be self-seeking unless we acknowledge it and choose to live differently. This manifests itself primarily in our relationships. It is so easy to "have" relationships for the sake of having a relationship with that person. We become tempted to "own" relationships for self-seeking purposes, even if they are as innocent as to fill our universal need for acknowledgement, validation, and worth. Our value has come to sit not on the actual person, but on the connection we have with that person. I even drew a picture to explain.

This is what I mean when I say that social networking either betters or exacerbates. If our value is misplaced, it magnifies our weighty mistake (and selfishness) to a point that we are beyond excuse, and it is recognizable to the naked human eye.

I will say it again: value first the person, not the relationship.

Social networking should exist to plant, nurture and grow our relationships with people (and content, too) that we value. Maybe it would help if we referred to other humans not as people but as lives. NOT to enable us to feed a self-focused desire to multiply all sorts of various fragile and thin "barely-there" relationships with people and content that we only want to care about. Our time is truly limited. Deal it out wisely. Brushing fingertips is not a handshake.

- - -

Hard questions:

.:. If you didn't blog or tweet for a week, who would notice or care? This is not rhetorical. Go name them.

.:. When was the last time you stepped outside of the internet to interact with that person(s)?

.:. How few texts could you get by sending each day?

.:. If you use Google reader, and had a folder for "friends" - what would your ratio of friends to various blogs be?

.:. What do you obligate yourself to that is an illusion?

.:. What have you wanted to do or not do that has been sacrificed for the draw of spiderweb-thin relationships?

.:. Do you seek to document beauty in your own life, or are you guilty of simply coveting beauty in others? (There is a secret hidden here: It exists everywhere, and is found only when documented.)

- - -

the world is too big to be your own.

so find your corner.

water it and make it grow.

and occasionally, take extravagant field trips

- - -

My final thought: I need more than 3 days of living like this.

- - -

P.S. I got glasses. Seeing is awesome.


andrew k said...
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Paige Baker said...

You are incredible. So much of this I want to just copy and past onto my face for good memory. And a lot of these things, I've been thinking a lot about, myself--especially the relationship aspects of it...and additionally my compulsive need to never let things go or give up on them. I don't think I could've said it better if I spent the rest of the year trying. And now I want to answer all your non rhetorical questions, haha. The first, has been weighing on my mind for months now.

I'd also like to say that I am sooo glad you took the time to do this and as much as I'm glad your back I hope you do it more often. I think you have so many valuable things in your brain and heart and seeing them come together online is a really beneficial opportunity for anyone who takes the time to take it in. I know a lot of people on and off the internet, and I by far relate to you as one of the very most.

andrew k said...

this post gave me chills, lauren. it sounds like you learned a lot - about yourself, about relationships, and about how we all use this technology. we use it to form connections, real and perceived, and to have conversations, among other things, without thinking about the cost that comes along with these uses.

anyway i just wanted to say that maps are beautiful and i use google maps all the time to discover new things around my town.

i've found that sending and receiving zero texts in a day only makes me feel disconnected; i'd rather have a brief throwaway exchange of notes every day than go days without contact. that said, i could not agree more that conversation should take place in person, rather than via text.

and i can't wait to see the drawing you made.

paislea said...

i love this post. it's so lovely. and the pictures that back it up are so perfect.


Jess @ Openly Balanced said...

Absolutely wonderful post. Thank you so much for taking the time to experience it and to share it with us. This was exactly what I needed to read today.

Amy said...

"The majority of my stress is a result of mis-managed relationships and poorly chosen staples of my daily life."
I could not agree with you more. Love this post, the reminders, the questions, thank you for challenging us to look past the electronics and towards real connection!

Brian Skeel said...

I needed to read this today. I am fully aware of the addiction I have to Facebook and the internet. And my Blackberry. And its apps. And my desk chair.

As all addictions, it's near impossible to quit and make room for real things in my life. How do you balance between networking and experiences? I wish I was being rhetorical.

Jamie said...

I've been thinking about this post of yours ever since I read it after you first posted it. It's brought many interesting thoughts to mind and I can relate with so much of this post as I've been having similar thoughts myself. I'd rather have a small handful of true "friends" than a thousand acquaintances or readers/followers, whatever. I definitely need to prioritize and spend my time on the things and people that are truly important in my life.
"Seek first the Kingdom of God--the rest can wait." Somebody posted that tweet the other day. So true. I'm working on many things in my own life and feel like I'm now at a point of transition to a better place. Now it's just getting there! :)
Thanks for sharing all your thoughts on your weekend. It's truly a must-read! xo

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this post. I have a feeling your blog will be a "read until I die" relationship from here on out.

Nicole Trundle said...

Oh I absolutely adore parker fitzgerald, he has such a great eye for both photography and typography, makes me :)

Sarah said...

lauren, i am incredibly inspired by you and all you do. i love that you manage to put a positive/educational message behind things even if they are frustrating. i have always craved real meaning and true connections and social networking has always bothered me for the superficiality it breeds. the way you explain it here is very powerful. i'm very grateful to have found your blog. thank you for sharing xx

O.F.C.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
O.F.C.J. said...

This is a very insightful post. Quite interesting and thought provoking. I believe we should value the people and the relationship. Of course putting the people first. This can be confusing when dealing with career focus, but I myself would hand that challenge to God, by letting Him teach me how to treat others in all scenarios. For example, sometimes my family gets on my nerves, and I don't value some of them. But when I re-evaluate the fact they they are my family members, It forces me--since I do value that bond-- to try to fortify the relationship with the person and re-discover their value.

This may not go for Social networking, of course, but it varies. Social networking can be fun, or a bother. I find it fun. But then I don't use it to create things that don't exist in my mind/life, or that of others. Only to nurture or continue the things that do exist. It is, indeed, only a tool.


anya elise said...

I love how you sum up this incredibly important lesson - "I will say it again: value first the person, not the relationship." It is unacknowledged by too many of us these days. Often myself included.

Beautifully said.

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