Sunday, August 3, 2008

On Being Here and There

The act of being is complex enough as it is, but not as difficult as the act of being here. By “here” I mean wherever your “here” is; your job, your relationship, your life.

I look around and see examples of that zombie-like stupor, the one where people are physically there, but mentally and emotionally—Poof! Gone.

And it affects “being there” for others. Parents should “be there” for their children. Colleagues and bosses should be there for their departments. Friends and lovers should be there for each other.

How can you “be there” for anyone when you can’t even “be here?” Perhaps the issue is neither here nor there, but back at the point of being.

It seems these days something or someone is always clamoring for a piece of you. That hasn’t changed much, but the access to you has. Cellphones, emails, Instant and text messaging, the ubiquitous Blackberry demanding that you be here right now—All at the same time.

What exactly are we connected to now that we’re plugged in? When do we get to look around, take a breath and take in that moment to just be?

Earlier this year my friend and I decided to unplug from our office’s IM service, returning only after we configured the program’s filter to allow access to colleagues directly related to our responsibilities. Our productivity shot up, making it easier to go home at a decent hour to enjoy our families and reconnect with our neglected pursuits.

Next time you’re out with a friend or family member, try letting your voicemail answer some of your calls and let a couple of texts go straight to your inbox. Have a complete conversation with the person who thought enough of you to be THERE with you. I promise you’ll remember being there a lot more than any of those messages.

Try unplugging from time to time and give yourself some quality time. Who knows, you might even figure out that being there isn’t as great as being here.

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