Watch this six-minute video, and then go out and strut your stuff like the cool cat you are! And the video isn’t about cats at all. Well, maybe just a tiny bit.
attentive, aware, or careful (usually followed by of): mindful of one’s responsibilities.
It’s become quite a buzzword in recent years.
To be in a state of mindfulness requires you are in the present. Not in the last minute or the next, but always in this fleeting present moment.
This moment is what passes while we are capturing the perfect selfie or posting it to Twitter. Hey, I’m never going to give up my social media, but I’m painfully aware that mindfulness and Instagram are never going to coexist. We can spend the best moments of our lives looking for the next photo, or we can put the friggin’ camera down and be there.
My days are spent like most people, eating my cereal while I’m packing my lunch, running late for work, and driving brainlessly while I catch up on the news. Life could be much more meaningful if we could be present at every minute. Let’s face it, it just isn’t going to happen outside of a mountain monastery.
I like to think my camera and I have a fairly healthy relationship. She comes with me on long walks, showing me things I might otherwise have overlooked. We like to “focus” on little things. Pun intended.
Don’t get me wrong. An ocean is beautiful, but I see it knowing that thousands of other people have seen it too. It’s the single wave that breaks along the shore that moves me. You need to be there to see it. Be present. It’s like a fleeting moment, as quickly as it’s come, it’s gone.
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
Peace . . .
It is hard for most of us to imagine a world without social media. We tweet, post, link, like and when we’re through, we retweet, repost, and share again.
What is the first site you think of when you think of social media? Chances are, you think of Facebook. There’s a good reason for that. Everything we do, from stopping for coffee on the way to work, to picking up take-out on the way home, is linked to Facebook.
The movies I watch, the theaters I watch them in, the music I listen to, and the stores I frequent all have pages on Facebook. There was a time when buying merchandise was thanks enough, but now they want me to “like” them, too. It was fun for a while. One of my favorite pizza joints posts coupons on Facebook. I used it a couple of times. Now it just tells me which nights to avoid so I don’t hit the FB coupon lines.
My soda has a Facebook page, my permanent markers have a Facebook page, and yes, I have a Facebook page. I have 227 Facebook friends. The last time I saw that many people all at the same time was probably at my wedding. And I didn’t really know half of them, either. As friend lists go, mine is pretty short, and I could probably cull it even further.
Typically, 70% of the posts are not original, but simply reposts of what someone else posted. Maybe this is true in real life, too. I mean, maybe I’m coming down too hard on my FB friends. How much of what we say in person is original, either? Personally, I just don’t have time to sit around reading all the stuff that other people post so that I can repost it on my timeline. To be fair, I don’t spend a lot of time on FB at all, and it’s not a place I like to share my deepest thoughts, my every move, or my drama.
Yes! I have drama in my life. Who doesn’t? I make a choice to keep my life private — both in Facebook and reality. Posting my drama just leaves me open for pity or those who want to one-up me, neither of which is better than the other. Keeping my drama on the down-low allows me to seek guidance from those I select, while putting up a classy don’t-you-envy-my-life front for the rest of the world.
If I’m on Facebook, I am most commonly accessing it from my phone. I could put the phone down, but what fun is that? Me and my Smartphone rule the world, and FB just wants in on it.
- Notification: You have an 1 event pending!
- Notification: Friends have sent you 3 game invitations!
- Notification: You have 1 friend request!
This event invitation is one I’m too honest to accept, and too compassionate to decline. It’s an invitation to send a Christmas card to a little kid with Cerebral Palsy. I agree with the concept, but here’s the thing . . . The invite says “our address is . .” so whoever created this lives with the kid and is looking forward to all the warm fuzzies of watching the child be buried in his own Christmas mail. There’s also the part about sending mail to a child I don’t know. How would I sign it? Love? Sincerely? Yours Truly? I’ll probably give money to my local food shelf and click “tentative” on the invite just to make it go away, and hope the FB Friend who invited me will forget they did.
The game invites I will delete, only to have them pop up again tomorrow. There are three games I play. One is a quick timed word game, another is a zone-out bedtime number game. The last is a virtual reality that feels more like a grown-up dollhouse. I talk about them like they’re real, and mourn them briefly when they die. It freaks Bubba out and that’s enough for me. None of these games require Facebook, and I stopped posting my high scores there as soon as I figured out how to adjust the setting.
The friend request will be accepted, providing her name isn’t Brandi and wearing a bikini. That happens. It’s not that I’m opposed to a girl wearing a bikini, it’s that she spells her name with an “i” and wants me to spend money getting to know her.
A bit of advice for those losing passwords. Do not click the option that says, “We don’t recognize your username or password. Would you like to sign in using Facebook?” Clicking OKAY will not direct you to your original account. It will set up a whole new account. You will now have two accounts. One with none of your history, and the other with no way to get into it.
Why would Facebook and your favorite app want you to sign in through FB? Because they share your information like two biddies down the street over a cup of cheap coffee.
“She likes browsing sexy lingerie!”
“Are you serious? Wait until I tell the other sites about that!”
“Oh my! Do let me know which sites are interested!”
“You’ll be the first to know! Have some more coffee . . . sugar?”
” . . . and cream, if you have it.”
I know it’s all in the name of suggestive marketing. The grocery store does the same thing when they place ping pong balls next to the 3.2 beer. But Cub Foods doesn’t send someone around to watch what labels I’m reading for the sole purpose of suggesting I buy something else. That would be nosey and I’d stop shopping there.
So why do I continue to shop at Facebook? I treat it like a party hosted by a friend of a friend of a friend. I don’t really know the host, but I respect the space and everyone there. It’s a good place to reconnect with lost loved ones, and see how their kids have grown. There are a lot of different conversations going on, so if I don’t like one I can join another. I try to keep it generic, because there are a lot of people attending from all walks of life. It may not be the best party going on, but you’re bound to see someone that makes you smile.
Like any party, it’s better after you’ve had a few. So if you see me there, I’m likely to have a drink in my hand. I won’t be driving, but if you’re a good friend and I’ve had too many, please tell me to put the phone down . . .
Peace . . .
I was sitting at coffee, eaves-dropping on the table next to me . . . . er, uh . . . I mean . . . minding my own business, when I hear the guy say,
“Nope! Never had a vacation in 15 years! Never had a reason to leave home.”
While I sipped my whipped chocolate java goodness, my mind wandered to places I visited years ago. It’s been a long time since I ventured very far from Minnesota. Funny how one year can turn into four, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting in a coffee shop telling your buddy you have no reason to leave the comfort of your home
Now, I’m not one to eaves drop. Well . . . okay . . . I am, and you can read about that here. But let me be very clear that the guy deserved my eaves-dropping for two reasons.
- He was very loud.
- While I was enjoying my first sip, he said, “Good morning, how are you?” Not in a your-eyes-meet-and-its-just-a-polite-thing-to-do sort of way. He said it in a “Hey, little lady” I-hadn’t-even-glanced-in-his-direction sort of way. It was awkward.
So yeah, he’s just asking to be overheard . . . and judged.
When I zeroed back in on the conversation, he was telling his friend all about what the people around the world think of Americans. “They don’t like us,” he said.
Now, this may be true or not. We’ve all heard people say it. I’ve also heard people talk about their travels and how nice everyone was to them. But here’s the thing . . . on what experience was his statement based?
Is he watching his favorite news channel? Back in the day, it didn’t run all day and night. There was the 5:00 and the 10:00. They lasted for an hour, and if you only wanted the weather, you knew when to tune in. How long does it take to report the real stories in a factual manner? Now we have channels with nothing but news 24/7 and they have to fill in the gaps with personal accounts packed with opinions. With all these viewpoints being aired, they found it necessary to have not one, but several, different 24-hour news stations to cater to everyone’s perspective. Presto! You now have your world views validated every hour of the day without challenge.
Fewer people than ever have the newspaper delivered to their door. When I was a kid, almost every house on my block got the paper. My parents sat down each day to catch up on current events. They budgeted time in their morning routine because it was important to them. Sure, some newspapers lean one way or another, but they only have that one issue a day to interest everyone, so they tend to offer a buffered perspective.
These days our information is digitally delivered on the internet. And do you know what the internet recommends for you? Links that it knows you will like based on what you clicked in the past.
It’s all just marketing. You see, they need to tell us something we agree with. Because the more people who subscribe, click, follow, like and retweet, the more money they make. Unfortunately, we are all becoming convinced there is no other valid opinion but our own.
“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”
— Frank A. Clark
It is sometimes difficult to listen to another point of view; to find out that we may have been wrong — to think we may have spent 15 years sitting in our living room watching t.v. instead of seeing the world. No one wants to be wrong, but when we are always right, we stop evolving.
Bringing myself out of my thoughts and back to reality, my loud neighbor was now talking about gun control. He was quoting Archie Bunker who was not only a fictional character, but one who failed to evolve forty years ago. I couldn’t wait to go home and Google “Archie Bunker on gun control” to educate myself.
I must always stay open to the possibility that I am wrong. There is a splendid gift in being given the truth. We need only be open to receiving it.
Please don’t make the mistake of interpreting this post as a political one. This is about pulling your head of the sand (or wherever you might have it) and seeing all that is around you. Challenge that which you have always believed. Listen consciously. Speak carefully. Grow deeply.
Peace . . .
Everyone I know has either a Facebook page, a tattoo, or both. Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. I wonder if they were the original social media?
Be careful what you put on the internet. The internet is forever.
The oldest tattoo known is on ‘Otzi the ice man.’ Otzi is 5,300 years old. So when they say tattoos are forever, I believe them. Anthropologists say Otzi’s tattoos were probably therapeutic. Right. So was that picture you posted from the bar last night.
Enjoy your fast food? LIKE it on Facebook!
Tattoos have been used throughout the years to show support for tribes, countries, military branches, gangs, and any other group we belong to. Just like on the internet, these emblems publicize who we are. The fashion among Roman soldiers was to show loyalty to the royal house with tattoos of ivy leaves. In effect, they were “liking” their group.
What groups are you in? What do you like to do? Are you political, jovial, religious, skeptical, romantic? Are you devoted to family, your pets, or peace? Do you believe in saving the planet, or just the whales? Chances are there is a tattoo and a Facebook page just for you!
Friends proudly display symbols of status on their pages. Lavish cruises, trips to the spa, and wild adventures are available to envy for anyone willing to scroll down the page.
Early tattoos also displayed symbols of status. Some marked lines of decent or exploits in war and other events. Modern inking might show how many lives one has taken, or how many children you have.
Social Media, in the wrong hands, can do real harm to a business or individual.
Tattoos have also been used to punish or harm other people as well. Some ancient cultures tattooed their criminals. Few can forget the permanent numbers marked on victims of the holocaust. Slaves exported to Asia from the Roman Empire were tattooed with the words ‘Tax Paid.’ Next year I’m going to try that with my firstborn and the IRS.
Virtual hugs, ‘likes,’ and comments of support are restorative and contribute to our sense of well-being.
Amulets or images of protection were sometimes tapped into the skin of those going to war, or who were sick or pregnant. Some of us wear elaborate crosses, stars, or angels to remind us we are part of something bigger.
Choose your privacy settings.
Privacy settings are important to consider on both social media and body art. A design on the neck has been marked as ‘public.’ A tattoo on the breast is ‘private.’ If you can see the wearer’s tattoo, he is speaking to you. Is it peering out from under the cuff of his business shirt? It is not an accident. He is speaking to you. Is it taunting you from her lower back? She is whispering to you. Is it blaring you right in the face as you speak to him? He is shouting at you.
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It is interesting to note that while we have all been taught that it is impolite to stare at others, most tattoos cannot fully appreciated without being stared at. There are women who wear their neckline down to there, and then complain that someone is staring at their cleavage. I have yet to hear someone complain that their tattoo is being stared at. One cannot wear a tattoo and claim it is not there to be seen. Is the popularity of tattoos a movement toward rejecting the polite mannerisms of our parents’ generation and daring others to stare?
Or are tattoos a way of getting around the disconnectedness of social media and other electronic communication? Are tattoos our way of asking people to comment? Are we using tattoos to help us state our status, support our cause and ask others to add us as their friend in real life?
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