Yesterday was my born day. I came into this world a few decades ago, umbilical cord cut upon emergence from my mother’s womb.
While out celebrating another year of this wondrous life with the dearest of friends, my phone was stolen from my purse in the first hours of my birthday. At first I was shocked and sad. I felt violated. However, over the course of the next 24 hours, I came to realize that this was not truly a theft, but instead a gift in disguise.
How could this be a gift?
1) It inspired gratitude. I do admit initial feelings of anxiety from losing my phone, the physical library of where my digital history of the past years is stored. But in the larger scheme of things, was the loss really a big deal? No, it was not. I have a roof over my head and two healthy lungs. Others lose their homes in natural disasters, or their health to illnesses. Physically, I was just out a small chunk of technology.
2) Metaphorically, it became the catalyst for the intention of “cutting the cord.” Our smartphones have become extensions of ourselves in many aspects. It’s become how we connect to our friends and the world, how we select from an overwhelming menu of information, how we navigate from point A to point B. Recently I’ve become addicted to connecting, sometimes in superficial or artificial ways. Late night social media binges…taking everything in without a filter. Except of course those filters on Instagram.
Having the cord cut yesterday was a gift.
Without a phone, day spent peacefully sitting in a bathhouse completely unplugged, I got to experience precious hours of connecting instead with my own meditative thoughts, with quality conversations with friends inside a sauna, and a dinner completely uninterrupted, with my mom.
Cutting the cord, unplugging from a too plugged in world. Moving forward, I will try to be more mindful of what I ingest virtually. Perhaps go on a technological diet from time to time and at least put my phone (when replaced) on Airplane mode for a bit and fly to an island of being more present in real life.
Cutting the cord, learning to let things go. During this morning’s commute, I no longer had access to Waze. In having no traffic app to tell me where to drive, I picked one permutation out of all the combinations of routes to take, and let go of the need to control my commute time. I also no longer had access to Soundcloud. Instead I put in a CD, for the first time ever, into the car stereo and listened to the soundtrack of the movie “Berlin Calling” by German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner. One track called “Sky and Sand” was so beautiful that it literally made me cry. In doing so, I was able to finally release some negative feelings and thoughts that I’ve been harboring deep inside.
Thank you, phone thief.