Monday, August 10, 2015

A Feast of Face to Face Connections - No Technology at the Tables

What I am about to share is based solely on anecdotal experience and observation.
 Nothing more.

My husband Dan and I recently returned from a vacation to parts of Western Europe and the Mediterranean. Thrilled to have an opportunity to share places I had visited as a college student and then as an adult, I couldn't wait to explore the wonders of other cultures with the love of my life! And, he was just as excited to experience it for the first time.

Arriving first in Paris, we set out to visit as many of the tourist attractions as we could fit in during
our stay there. In spite of the untimely heat wave, we did just that.  But because Dan and I are "foodies", we reserved our meal times for sleuthing out specialty restaurants and boutique cafe's nestled between quaint shops and greeted by cobblestone streets.  One afternoon, we stumbled across La Saotico - a gem of a restaurant. After being warmly welcomed by the owner, we made ourselves comfortable while studying the menu and sipping our cool drinks. As we enjoyed our lengthy lunch hour and other patrons sauntered in, La Saotico's quiet beginnings turned quickly to melodic "Bonjour's" and harmonious compositions of communication. During the ensuing two hours, Dan and I savored every morsel of our crepes, salade, pommes frites and we shared a petite but decadent chocolate truffle! Because we loved the food and the liveliness so much, we returned the next night for dinner.

As Dan and I pondered what we would order from the extensive exquisite dinner menu, we were mesmerized by the number of families, couple, and friends gathering together to share a meal...and to share fully in the presence of one another.  There was talking, laughing, hugging, kissing on both cheeks...and then, more of the same. Heads were up, not down. Eyes - dancing, tearing, focusing - were held captive by animated speakers and attentive listeners.  Adults were actively present for their inquisitive children, inviting and engaging them in conversation. Small children, crawling and climbing up on laps of adults, were chattering away - hungry for food but more for lively interaction. Dan and I looked at each other, wondering...

                   when the last time was that we had witnessed a feast of face to face connections - 
                                                       with no technology at the tables. 
                                                                 We couldn't recall.

Over the remainder of our time abroad - throughout numerous countries - Dan and I tried to discount what we were observing. Maybe it was just a fluke?  Maybe we were biased by our own concerns of an over-reliance on technology? We wondered why other cultures seemingly were not as dependent upon their technology as Americans, especially during social gatherings?  Of course, we saw individuals on the Metro, on buses, or walking down the busy streets of capital cities or little villages, or in Internet cafes connected to their favorite phones,games and music. However, time and time again,  we couldn't refute our findings...

we didn't see their reliance on technology spilling over into their meal times
 and social times of communication, celebration, and connection.
And we, too, were able to experience it.

During our many excursions, we lunched with individuals from all over the world. We looked at one another as we exchanged our stories. We talked, we listened. Our faces remained up - our focus horizontal. Mutual respect and regard for one another's words filled our spirits, and we beckoned for more. One day, Dan and I ventured out on our own exploring a little village high on top the island of Corfu, Greece. After meandering through  the quaint shops and soaking in the breath-taking views, we stopped for lunch at local restaurant. Before long the owner sat with us, telling us about his country...his worries...his fears...and his hopes.

 Only by facing him - looking into his eyes -
 would we know the extent of his pain and would he feel the fullness of our compassion.

Returning home, I began to prepare for two pod-casts - both related to "our relationship with technology". It's something I have studied, written extensively on, and spoken about for several years. I want my audiences to know that I love my technology! I wouldn't be able to share my messages of healing and hope without it! At the same time, as with most scientific and social advancements as well as technological wonders - there are both positive and negative consequences to the degree of access or exposure to them or consumption of them. The challenge before us is really quite simple and sensible - finding a healthy balance of our tech intake and making a commitment to implement it.

A great place to start? 
No technology at the tables....
Just a feast of face to face connections.

If you would like to become more aware of how we are changing and evolving as we become more dependent upon our relationship with technology, I invite you into a very candid but comfortable conversation with an incredible guide and mentor of conscious explorers -   Michael Neeley - Consciously Speaking  .                 .

Join educators Dan Kenley and Ed Berger as we discuss Cyber Bullying on "Insights Into Education". What role and responsibility do schools play in addressing this toxic behavior? What are some of the most effective and implementable approaches?

And for an informative and restorative podcast on how our relationship with technology fuels and feeds a culture of cyber bullying, please take a listen - Autism Expert & Podcast Host Paul Louden - Theories of Mind.

For more healing tools, please visit Holli Kenley!
Follow us on Twitter!

Featured Post

Protecting Our Youth Against Campus Sexual Assault: 3 Key Strategies

Today's blog is for mature audiences: ages 18 and over. Today's conversation is not an easy one to have, but it is critical.  Wha...