Do you ever catch yourself watching yourself? When I was waiting for a bus recently in downtown Toronto, my hand itched toward my jacket pocket, pulled out my phone, I checked Facebook, put the phone back, 10 seconds passed, and I took out my phone again to check The Score app to see which NBA games were on tap that night.
I put the phone away again, and just looked around the cold street, barely any traffic, barely any people. I wanted to keep my hands from creeping toward my phone again, but I felt almost strangely powerless. It's as if being still ran counter to what my brain demanded - a quick glance at Twitter, for some dumb reason.
I'm sure I'm not the first to realize it's dangerously difficult to just be motionless. To simply breathe and take it all in. To be present, not to pull your attention to screens and sports scores.
It does sound Grampa Simpson of me to say, but I crave those phone-less days when the entire appeal of standing was, well, being able to pace for the sake of movement. We didn't look down and bury our stillness in a sloppy glow. We actually liked doing nothing for once.
I've started to meditate, which I've blogged about before, and I'm learning to find my breath again, by which I mean remembering to focus on deep breaths during moments of aloneness.
It would be hypocritical to rail against mobile tech as the destroyer of all things meditative and peaceful. I'm all up in my Scrabble game, my Insta posts. But when I had that week without a phone due to it getting ol RIP on me, that was transformative. That phoneless week got me thinking of what I found so refreshing of being free of notifications buzzing my hip: I could do what I wanted, instead of responding to whatever this toy was bleeping.
I don't wish ill on my phone again (forgetting to backup photos is so damn painful) but instead I will work harder to finding that pocket of stillness in a day that is all Messenger dots, RT alerts, funky filters.
About David's Blog
I write about journalism, freelancing, the arts, Toronto, technology, sports and why egg nog is under-rated.