less tech. more life.

Excerpted from The Flight From Conversation by Sherry Turkle New York Times, April 21, 2012

...In the silence of connection, people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people — carefully kept at bay. We can’t get enough of one another if we can use technology to keep one another at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right. I think of it as a Goldilocks effect.

Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body. Not too much, not too little — just right.

Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves...

FACE-TO-FACE conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits. As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions; we dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters...

...we have confused conversation with connection and collectively seem to have embraced a new kind of delusion that accepts the simulation of compassion as sufficient unto the day...

...We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. Always-on/always-on-you devices provide three powerful fantasies: that we will always be heard; that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be; and that we never have to be alone. Indeed our new devices have turned being alone into a problem that can be solved.

When people are alone, even for a few moments, they fidget and reach for a device. Here connection works like a symptom, not a cure, and our constant, reflexive impulse to connect shapes a new way of being.

Think of it as “I share, therefore I am.” We use technology to define ourselves by sharing our thoughts and feelings as we’re having them. We used to think, “I have a feeling; I want to make a call.” Now our impulse is, “I want to have a feeling; I need to send a text...”

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I am deeply moved by the words above. It's an important reminder with cautionary insight for all of us. I recently took almost a year off of Facebook; during that time I completed the first draft of my book, started a lifestyle brand, improved my focus + increased my self-care. I was more present for my relationship(s), lost some weight, upped my joy + experienced more restful sleep.  Then about a month ago I got back on it + within 1 week my anxiety was up, I was more distracted + irritable + I also felt more  self-conscious. Not healthy. Not okay. Not cool. I promptly deactivated my personal account, added a second daily meditation to my schedule {for now} + have returned to communicating with myself {and others} or not communicating at all with others in a more purposeful way.

Try an hour, or a day, or a week without social media + see how you + your life transform. Let me know how it goes. I'm rooting for you.

Warmly, Alicia.

a quiet life

I always carry a moleskine notebook around with me. It holds my ideas, inspiration, plans, quotes + sometimes just a word or two that I don't want to forget. All the notebooks I've had find their way to full + then they get stored away for safekeeping...as I was closing out this last one I came across something I'd copied down that seems relevant to this moon + the state of things. Sadly, I do not know the author's name {if you're out there please let me know so that I can thank you + credit you for your gift with words}. These words - right now - are keeping me grounded + focused + clear in my truth + my heart needs it so very much. The world is changing + now more than ever, I am committed to living a heart strong life; rooted in love, compassion, grace + reverence for all. 

Warmly, Alicia.


Want I want is a quiet life.

I mean a life that listens to other people, to my place, to silence. I want to notice even the smallest things, to stay immediate to my surroundings. But daily distraction can be so fragmenting, so addictive, and the kind of attentive patience I seek requires clarity of mind.

To find this clearheadedness, I must make a commitment to do so - I have to say NO to the constant frenzied consumption of needs {more often wants and excesses} and I have to make room for the quiet contented YES I desire.

{author unknown + photo by Edwin Andrade}

worth the read: on being

Have you heard of On Being with Krista Tippett? My Mom introduced me to the website and podcast {there's an app too} +  I have to say I am deeply engaged. The content is rich, thoughtful, heartfelt + current. On Being reminds you that words hold power, healing, insight, community + connection. Open your ears. Open your heart. Open your mind.

love, alicia.xx

On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.

A few excerpts below...

on being logo

Part of interdependence is the act of recognizing, rather than ignoring or denying, when our actions don't align with our aspirations. We harness the power of our attention to resist the impulse to shut down, to separate, to judge. In that open space, we simply see life as it is: connected to us entirely, within and without. {Sharon Salzberg}

- from The Kindness Rebellion

The physical is already illuminated with the presence of the sacred. If we care about the spirit, we cannot avoid concern with the here and now. The spiritual is about the social, the mystical is also about the political. The cosmic in us has to be about both changing the human and changing the world of which we are a part. The healing inside and the healing of the world are wrapped up in one another. {Omid Safi}

from The Spiritual is Political

It’s equally true that the better we understand our own stories, the more human we become. Revisiting our own experiences with otherness and trying to learn from them is key to becoming the people we want to be. It gives us a chance to live into the best of our stories and transcend the worst. {Parker J. Palmer}

- from Five Stories About Otherness and Me

for more go straight to www.onbeing.org 


photo by joshietakashima

Let us imagine that life is a river. Most people are clinging to the bank, afraid to let go and risk being carried along by the current of the river. At a certain point, each of us must be willing to simply let go, and trust the river to carry us along safely. At this point, we learn to “go with the flow” — and it feels wonderful. Once we have become accustomed to being in the flow of the river, we can begin to look ahead and guide our course onward, deciding where the course looks best, steering the way around boulders and snags, and choosing which of the many channels and branches of the river we prefer to follow, all the while still “going with the flow." {Shakti Gawain}

photo credit: Joshie Takashima