A friend and I were enjoying a luxurious stroll through the streets of Ubud this afternoon, taking in all of the sights, scents and sounds of this beautiful place that I love so much. We had lunch at a lovely little local Warung on JL Gautama and chose roadside seats so we could happily people watch while we chatted and enjoyed the delicious food.
After another long walk, we felt a little peckish and felt that dessert was in order. We stopped at one of the many gelato stores that have opened up in recent years to order a cone. While we were waiting I noticed two women sitting in the window seat. “What’s your wifi password?” one of them bellowed across the room. “We don’t have wifi” the girl gently responded. As if she had spoken Latin, she had to ask for the girl to repeat what she had said. She stared at her, looking indignant and shocked at the lack of wifi in this little ice cream shop. She looked back at her friend in amazement and what I’d call a look of disgust and confusion.
She continued to use her phone, as did her friend. I’m not sure if she had any other kind of service or if she was just looking at photos or making notes. She seemed quite baffled as to what to do with herself.
Now I’m as big a fan of technology as the next person, and I’m often quick to jump onto the wifi and check what’s happening in the world, but today I managed to enjoy my day without it. Nobody got hurt, everything I need to know will still be there and the world continues to spin round and round. It’s baby steps for me, but I’m doing my best.
Have we really lost the art of conversation and human interaction to the point that we can’t enjoy an ice cream cone without being connected? Have we become so attached to what’s happening “out there” that we can’t connect with what’s inside us or find out what’s happening for those we care about who are sitting right there with us? I hope not, but I do fear for the future of our conversations and real human connections.
I’m working on disconnecting from the online world more, so I can remain connected in the real world. It’s a hard habit to break, especially when my phone has so many shiny bells and whistles to distract me. One thing that has helped is to turn all push notifications off. I now need to intentionally open my phone and check to see if there are any. I often take Facebook and messenger off my phone, but as I’m away I have put it back on in order to stay in touch with loved ones far and wide.
Mind you, I still find myself picking it up and checking what’s happening with the wicked temptress Facebook, often before I realise what I’m doing, I look down and find myself scrolling mindlessly, so that’s the next step for me. Leave it down, don’t pick it up every second my hands or mind are free.
Take the opportunity to daydream, imagine, create, manifest. It’s only in those spaces of stillness and quiet that we can drop into our heart, hear our inner thoughts and that’s where the magic of creativity is born.
I might even leave it behind tomorrow.