A Refocus of Time
3 hours and 52 minutes. That's how many hours a day, on average, I spend on my iPhone. That's how many hours a day, I spend reading showbiz gossip, and news, scrolling through Facebook and checking the weather.
These last few weeks, I haven't felt like writing. I haven't felt like creating. All I have felt like doing is living a default life. Where I don't really create, or initiate, I just go through the day, working, reading, doing stuff to keep the wheels moving, and whenever possible stepping outside to enjoy the weather and do a little gardening. And it seems, spending an average of 3 hours and 52 minutes a day looking at my phone.
I have been in a funk. No idea why and as my mentor said when she heard me describe my lack of motivation and interest, "you make it sound like it is a problem, but like a rain storm, it will pass, there is nothing to be done". I am paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. But I wonder how my funk and my iPhone usage correlate, if at all.
But what I do know, is that in the back of my mind, there is a quiet, gentle voice that's nudging me to put the phone aside, to break the habitual scrolling, and to see what happens when I do. So on Saturday, I decided to leave my phone downstairs when I went to bed. I decided to stop with the habitual scrolling. I decided to stop taking my phone to the bathroom. I decided to stop acting on every compulsion to look something up, to Google it, to find out what something means.
It's only been three days and it's been liberating. I have noticed more, done more, and been more present with what is going on around me. I have listened to my intuition more.
Our Attention is Like a Laser Beam of Light
First, I had a realization about consciousness at the weekend. My husband and I were laying on our dock, next to the lake. The sun was going down, shining its last rays on our faces. The wind was blowing across our cheeks and the swifts were diving and soaring around us. There were so many things my senses were picking up on but I realized, I could only focus on one thing at once. I couldn't think about the feeling of the breeze on my skin as well as notice the sweet smell of spring air. I couldn't think about feeling silly laying on our dock, at the same time as notice how good it felt on my body to lay down and stretch out.
Our attention is like a laser beam of light, it can only be pointed on one thing, one sense, at once and wherever you point that beam, is what comes alive in your mind.
Consciousness is our ability to notice. To be aware of ourselves, who we are being, and how we are acting or reacting. Consciousness is also the thing that brings our thoughts alive through our senses. Consciousness is like the projector in a movie theatre, it shines light through the film of our thinking and as the light passes through, it creates our reality, it creates our experience, our feeling of the moment we are in. It's what allows me to feel the cool air on my skin, or the hunger in my belly, but when I shift my attention away from the hunger, I stop feeling the pangs. It's what enables me to bring to life an event I am worrying about but hasn't happened yet. It's what allows me to feel the sadness of a time that has gone by.
I don't think I would have seen and understood consciousness so clearly, had I had my head in my news feed.
The other thing I noticed this weekend, was how amazing nature is. There is a family of swifts living in one of the drainage pipes in our yard. Sitting out on the patio last night, it was amazing to watch this mother bird swooping in, and hear the little chicks bleat with joy at her return. And while she was inside feeding them, the father was circling, keeping watch over the family. No one taught those birds to do that. Just like no one taught the groundhog to dig a hole under a rock and move in there. It's the innate intelligence within them, that intuition that guides them to do what makes sense. To find food, to protect their young, to make a good home. All things essential for survival, all things that allow them to thrive and create a good life for themselves.
My husband and I were joking; what would happen to nature if birds and animals had iPhones and could Google how to feed their kids, or watch a YouTube video on how to choose the perfect rock to live under? Would the animal kingdom get smarter, or dumber by not listening to their own wisdom and instead, Googling someone else's? Would they be more likely to get attacked if they had their head in their phone? Probably.
The Infinite Power Within
It's interesting to think if we would be better off without all these distractions, all these things that take us away from being present to life, to noticing who we are being, to step back and see something new. How much smarter, more confident, and more trusting would we be of ourselves, if we learned to stop seeking answers from the internet, and learned to listen to our own intuition.
How much more at peace would we be, more able to thrive, if we slowed down and put our laser beam of attention on our own wisdom. That quiet voice that tells you to take a walk, that nudges you to put your phone down, that guides you to share a problem or a worry with a friend. That wise voice feels different from the insecure, stressful thinking that comes out of our brains. Wisdom feels different. All it is is pure common sense. When you are upset about something, it makes sense to take a walk and give yourself a break to recalibrate. When you are overthinking something, and getting worked up, it makes sense to step back from the laptop and grab a coffee, stretch, or give yourself time to settle. But how often do you notice that wisdom? How often do you take heed of it?
I am not suggesting you put your phone down as I have done, but I am suggesting you take heed of your own wisdom and listen to what makes good sense for you. To play with that a little.
You don't need Google when you have the intelligence of the entire universe in your soul, guiding you. You don't need to solicit advice from others, when you have your own internal mentor at hand 24 hours a day, no recharge required.
When you stop putting your attention on all the things wrong with your life, or all the things that might go wrong, when you shift your focus away from your insecure thinking, when you stop taking the stress and the worry so seriously, when you put down your phone and stop doing, doing, doing…you can quieten down and listen to your own common sense.
And when you listen to that, you know you have everything you need, you know everything will be ok. Because that wiser part of us doesn’t get freaked out by every passing worry and concern. It’s strong, steady, and wise. That's who and what you really are underneath all that insecure, stressed thinking.
I am curious to see what happens as the week goes on. I wonder what I will do with those extra 3 hours and 52 minutes of the day!
Today I wrote this.
Author: Melanie Hopwood
Melanie Hopwood is the Founder of The Restorative Coach. She is a certified professional coach, accredited through the ICF, and consultant. Connect with Melanie via email or LinkedIn. This article was first featured on the https://www.therestorativecoach.com/ blog.