Day 3: Put down the phone
September 12, 2023 - Marisa Guerin, PhD
Taking time to listen to our lives is basic to our emotional health – and perhaps the biggest barrier to that process of reflection is our omni-present cellphone!
The practice of attentive reflection on her life that was so important to Thérèse’s maturation isn’t intrinsically difficult. But reflective space is vanishing these days, consumed by our devices and the permanent connectivity they provide. For many of us, checking for texts and keeping an eye on the latest newsfeed has become addictive behavior.
Our hopes, worries, and dreams percolate inside and come up in their own time. If we suppress them for too long, they can show up as physical symptoms of stress. The ability to reflect on our experiences is fundamental for our emotional health. Without such reflection, we become frazzled, anxious, and splintered in our attention. The push and pull of daily living wear us out – perhaps driving us to escapist screen time, to comfort food or drink, and to willful efforts that bully ourselves and others.
Become more reflective means learning how to listen to our inner self no matter how messy our reality is. It means honestly noticing our actual feelings and desires, with compassion for ourselves and those with whom we live and work. Reviewing our lives this way, open to the loving providence of the Divine, is a way of praying and perhaps the most natural one for most of us. It is also something we might overlook and not even regard as prayer.
What’s important is that we do not fill all our time with “stuff” to do. If that happens, there’s little room for the inner process. When we feel that we are losing ourselves, we have to stop something. It’s not so much about what to do as about what not to do.
Find a few quiet minutes today to listen to your life. What is stirring in your heart?