Key 1: Mindfulness

Technology: Should it be Off-Limits on Valentine’s Day?


This month we’re focusing on Enchanted Key #1-Mindfulness. What does mindfulness have to do with technology and Valentine’s Day you ask? Plenty.


Journey Guide, Jon Kabat-Zinn, is a researcher of mind/body interactions. He defines mindfulness as, “the conscious, moment-to-moment focus on what one is intentionally doing, thinking and feeling.”


Valentine’s Day celebrates the heart, in its many variations of love. It doesn’t even have to be romantic love, anymore. It can be self-love, the love of our families, children, pets, etc. Like Halloween, it’s a lot about the candy. Traditionally, it’s been observed with flowers, sentimental cards, and a shared candlelight meal.


Technology began when natural resources were used to create useful tools. Fire was controlled and the original invention of the wheel took place. More recently, technology has brought us cell phones, computers, the Internet and Facebook.


But can mindfulness, Valentine’s Day, and technology co-exist in this day of love and connection? Let’s see. If distance separates you from your Valentine, and the only way to connect is through the Internet, then technology is a wonderful conduit for your expression of  love. However, if you and your Valentine are together, technology may be along for the ride as an intrusive third wheel.


Imagine that you and your date are sitting at the romantic Valentine’s Day dinner table. Your cell phone is next to his, right near the chilled bottle of champagne, the heart-shaped box of chocolates, and the vase of red roses he brought you. You’re mindfully sharing sensory experiences of the moment. You’re mesmerized by the caramel flecks of color in his dark, intense eyes. He floats on the blue ocean of your irises. Music is playing. Scents from the kitchen waft out to surround you. You scoop up some food on your fork for him to taste, as he speaks of the chocolate dessert to be shared afterward. Your hand lifts the silky napkin to his lips to dab the sauce off the end of his mustache. All of a sudden, as shrill as an early morning trumpet playing Reveille, your phone signals a notification from the outside world. Oops! You forgot to silence it.


Is it an emergency? Not unless you’d consider calling 9-1-1 because someone liked your Instagram photo! The attention-grabbing light breaks the mood, even if the ringer is off. You split your focus.  You worry that someone will need you if you turn your cell phone off. Either way, it’s bye-bye to the conscious, moment-to-moment focus. Our bodies and minds are already programmed to flip into high gear when those bells and whistles constantly call us.


What mindful choice will you make regarding this issue on Valentine’s Day? If you liked this post, you can share it with your friends and take a poll to see what the majority of people choose. Post a comment to tell us how you handled this delicate balance between connection to the world or just one-on-one.

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