Do you need a few moments to re-center yourself, find what matters again, clear the gunk or push away the clutter? Take 3 minutes and find yourself again. This is the kind of thing we'll be doing at the 2014 Central California Prayer of the Heart Conference.
You know how you see people on the sidewalk, or in the crosswalk, in what's become a typical pose--one elbow crooked like they're flexing a bicep, a hand raised to about six inches in front of their face? They're squinting, face glued to the tiny screen in front of them. Or think about how often you see people at a restaurant, sitting comfortably across from each other but one of them is texting while the other looks idly at her food. Sometimes she's glued to the screen as well.
Or, God forbid, the number of people at a stop light, looking down into a little screen.
It's hard to get away from the constant and instant access afforded by our digital devices.
A recent study found that 80 percent of 1,000 U.S. workers surveyed worked after leaving the office. The study found people check their email in bed in the morning (50%), before 8 a.m. (68%), after 10 p.m. (40%), when they are out with their families (57%), and when they are at the dinner table (38%). And 69 percent say they can't go to bed without doing so. All of this means we are almost working an entire extra day of work from home. (The Atlantic Wire website, July 2, 2012)
But there's a revolt afoot. Or, at least, there are young cultural leaders who are finding a more healthy way to live in relationship to these devices.
Digital Detox is a movement started by a young 28 year old techy, who hosts parties and even weeklong summer camping "retreats" that help tech-obsessed young people get off the grid and find a better way to be human again.
Here's what the movement says about itself:
Disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself. Recharge your mind, body and soul.
Digital Detox is an organization dedicated to finding and creating more balance in the digital age.
The Digital Detox retreat is a tech-free personal wellness retreat where attendees give up their smart-phones and gadgets in exchange for a few days of serenity and bliss.
Intention: Maybe I can't get away for a weeklong detox from the technology that too often runs my life, but I can learn to take breaks, close my lap top, turn off my phone, and engage the world that's right about me. The world won't end.
There isn't a person on the planet who doesn't long for the Beloved's touch. Everyone wants to pray, and everyone can pray. The trouble is, prayer's been so highjacked by religious people and especially by serious religious people that many of us don't want what we think prayer is, or don't think we can do what prayer requires. That's a terrible tragedy.
God is not a remote deity. God is not angry. God doesn't belong to a particular race or tribe or nation. The God revealed in Jesus is with us, for us, in us.
This means God is as near to you as the beating heart within you, as close as your next breath. Prayer, then, is as natural as breathing. The purest prayer is simply an awareness of the presence of God within and all around you.
Intention: Today, I will pause from time to time, take note of my breath, feel the beating of my heart, and sense the God who is within and all around me.
I slipped on black ice yesterday (this was written in early January). It's a wonder I didn't break my back or wrench my neck. I'm hardly sore except for the bruise on my back where the stuff in my backpack drove deep into the area around my left kidney. Today, it's settling in on me how grateful I ought to be to be alive. I was hiking up Angel Falls near Bass Lake. It's January. There's little snow, but what snow is there is melting, and, of course, icing up in places. I was walking along a great granite slab that's been cut by the river over the last zillion years. The river screams along this ancient stone chute just a few yards down and to my right. I'd looked up momentarily, when in an instant, I found myself flat on my back and sliding toward the river. I had no time to wonder if I'd broken a bone because I was sliding fast toward the river. Just as suddenly as I fell, I stopped. And that was that.
Once on my feet again, I gingerly checked my bones and muscles, while my son pointed out that had I hit my head on the jagged piece of granite just inches from where I fell, things would have ended a whole lot differently.
Sadly, we too infrequently pause to consider the gift life is and how quickly we can lose what we take for granted.
Intention: Today, I'll breathe, feel the air fill my lungs, let my eyes notice the play of light in the room around me and I'll give thanks for the gift of life itself. This is the beginning of wisdom.