Day 5/6 Hey! Look up from your phone.

I’m a slave for you- Britney Spears

This is somewhat a departure from previous commentary and posts because it is as much a self reflection as an observation of others.

About a month ago I started a social experiment and a personal challenge.

After realizing how much time I spend on my phone (thanks to that pesky new “oh look you loser you spent a total of 8 hours on your phone today” reminder on my device), I decided to make a point of leaving my phone in my bag while I was on the subway, in public places, while walking on the street, and whenever I had the urge to “check” my social media. Something that would seem rather obvious and self explanatory became a “task” or a personal project. The reason being;

I was constantly on my phone, and apparently I’m not the only one.

Before arriving in New York six years ago from Athens, I would say I had a relatively “healthy” relationship with my now constant companion. As technology changed, so did my relationship with my phone. (yes relationship – and everyone else I’ve seen seems to have the same one too). In sharp contrast to the past, my relationships consisted of close uninterrupted conversations with friends on a regular phone, arranged face to face meetings with people I had not seen in a long time and many many long emails with my loved ones who were far away. Now at the click of a button I’m connected at any moment, I get instant responses to my pictures, writing, comments, and observations. I’m constantly reachable; even when I don’t want to be.

All these characteristics of technology are not a mystery or shockingly new to any of us who use our phones as personal assistants, friends, connecting devices, social media giants etc. What did give me a rude awakening is that nearly ALL of the people I encounter on the street, in the subway, in their cars, with their friends at a dinner table; is that the phone is starting to become an extra appendage. EVERYONE is on their phone, ALL the time, and not when they are alone; but walking, eating, getting their hair done, waiting for the train, waiting for their friend to arrive, sitting at home watching a movie, eating at home while on their phones. ALL THE TIME.

The reason I gave myself this task of unhinging my every moment from my phone is purely to walk the walk as I talk the talk to my students about mindfulness and being present.

The absence of “having something to do” at every single second of the day is becoming something of a necessity as our time becomes more and more overwhelmed with technology, social media (the sewage of the internet as was so aptly put by Lady Gaga in a recent interview) and the idea that idle time with your mind focused on just being quiet and present is seen as laziness. For the next few weeks I challenge you all as I did myself; to get off your phones for the better part of your day and see what you notice. Take pictures, read a book, get off twitter, and enjoy a fine meal without looking at your facebook profile. ENJOY.

Till then here are some pictures I took today while I was walking around noticing the world around me instead of being glued to my phone.

I encourage you all to do the same. Take a moment to look up.

*the art featured is

1. Banksy- Mobile Lovers ( Bristol, UK)

2. Bkfoxx- (East Village- Nyc)

One comment

  • Eleana, With the magnificent and endlessly discoverable New York City at your viewing disposal I see no reason to spend hours gazing at a phone. I too can fall into that visual trap. The aspects of the City that you consistently uncover, are the hidden in plain sight content that makes New York so original. Granted, as a native I can feel the City in your work but you have a strong, emotional eye that reveals the feelings slightly hidden below the surface. Absolutely no phone needed, Other than to post images…

    Like

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