Unplug

unplugI was out having breakfast with my mother and as we talked about our day-to-day, I couldn’t help but notice two older women having breakfast too. T

Good friends? Best friends? I would love to describe the level of their closeness but it was hard to tell. hey appeared to be in their seventies and appeared to be friends.

My view of these women was not obstructed. They were in my clear view and about 10 feet away from where we sat. These women were a major juxtaposition of my mother and I and the rest of the people at the restaurant. While my mother talked, laughed and joked, these women sat and stared past each other. Each time I looked over at them, they sat and stared off into the distance and observed the activity in the restaurant. Nothing but a few words were spoken during their entire meal.

I often find it painful to observe older couples that have dinner out only to eat their meals in silence. While I was out with a girlfriend for our weekly dinner, she and I noticed a family that sat beside us in complete silence. They may have been a close family, but their actions or in action showed otherwise. The mother focused on her cell phone, the father zoned out and their two sons played video games. My friend even pointed out that they might be listening in on our conversation because of the lack of their conversation.

Growing up my family and I sat around a dinner table each night of the week engaged in conversation. Now that we are older with our lives going in different directions, we find our home base around a dinner table, in each others company, talking about our days and about our successes and challenges in life. We have grown close as a result of sharing our struggles and sharing our success and even closer when outsiders hurt or tried to hurt any member of our family.

My month of writing has become my month of meditation. Rather then meditating in the traditional sense my meditation has consisted of thinking deeply about my life up to now.  During the course of this month I made it a point to do what I love and spent quality time with the people I care about and I met someone.

We dated briefly and ultimately decided to be friends. During the times we spent getting to know each other, we sat present in each other’s presence. We weren’t pre-occupied with our lives. Our cell phones were tucked out of sight. We just focused on getting to know each other. I am thankful to have experienced such presences with someone to the extent that I experienced it with him. It is that level of presence that is needed in improv, to be in the moment, that I have worked on.

I am thankful to experience being present outside an improv stage and I know fully know what life can be like with such presence in every moment.  People are wired to connect and be in community. While cell phones, computers and social networking aim to bring us together, a residual effect of these products is that they pull us out of our present.

I am guilty of preoccupation and the memorization of technology like anyone else. But, I make it a point to unplug and enjoying the moments of my life as they occur. I seek to document the moments in my mind rather then focusing on capturing the perfect moments to share with my social network. Unplugging for a moment and enjoying the richness of the present is an experience that can never be duplicated or documented since all your senses create the richer experience.

“This media we call social is anything but, when we open our computers and it’s our doors we shut” – Gary Turk
This video “Look Up” speaks to the importance of unplugging.
Written, performed and directed by Gary Turk