I'll admit it. I got a little lost in 2017. I could tell you it's because of the riveting political events of the year. I could tell you it's because I have two small children and only rare, small moments to myself. I could tell you I'm being manipulated by mass marketers and media engineers. But whatever it is, I have been glued to my smartphone in 2017 and I have lost my way.
I find myself carrying it with me everywhere I go -- something I swore I would never do. Sometime in 2016 I broke my cardinal rule and allowed it into my bedroom. Within weeks it became a fixture on the bedside table. My small children aren't allowed to look at it, but when they find it they offer it to me on outstretched palms as if it were a precious thing, because that’s the way I treat it — and I’m horrified.
I just channeled the February 2018 Message in which the Akashic Records tell us to focus on developing integrity at every level. I find that I am far outside my own sense of integrity with my smartphone use, and so it forms the heart of my New Year's resolution this year.
I have tried many times to cut back my use. I set it aside. I pretend to lose it. I have even set a timer and cut myself off after my time is up. But each time I slip back. In the middle of a busy day, I might find a moment when my two children are both occupied. I know it will only last a few minutes — not enough time to engage a project. Or I find myself waiting in the car, just three minutes early for preschool pickup — again, not enough time to do much. So I pull out my phone, letting it suck my attention into whatever the mass marketers and media engineers have prepared for me. I let it carry my attention away from where I am, which feels like a relief in that moment but leaves me drained and lost by the end of each day.
I can't remember what I just read. I can't remember what I was thinking of before I picked up the phone. I can't remember my own thoughts. The phone tells me what to think, and I am used by the tool rather than having the tool be used by me.
My resolution this year isn't to limit my time with the phone. This hasn't worked before and it probably won’t work now. Instead, I resolve to put this little black box back in it's place -- as a tool to enhance my life rather than ruler of my thoughts and feelings. Sure, I’ll set it aside and pretend to lose it, and I’ll limit my time with it. But the real difference this time around it that I am going to use it to accomplish my highest goals first, before I can let it lead me into my small goal of being temporarily occupied. And what is my highest goal? To love with as much warmth, honesty, good humor, and affection as possible.
In specific terms, Every time I pick up my phone I will send someone a loving message. I will tell my mom I love her before I check the news. I will thank my friend for her kindness before I add something to my grocery list. I will tell my neighbor how beautiful her children are before I look at pictures on Instagram. I will make sure my phone is used for my highest good every single time I pick it up. And if I don’t have time for that, then I don’t have time to pick it up at all. Wish me luck!
What about you? Any ideas for how you will step into a bigger, better you as we begin the Year 2018? I’d love to hear about them, and I’ll be cheering you on!