October 25, 2017"Look up. Reach up. Stretch up," I say at the beginning of Friday's gentle basic yoga class.
"We spend so much time hunched over our computers, our devices and our steering wheels we never take time to look up and make space between our joints and bones," I say.
Little prompts like "lift your chin a little so your neck is in line," and "relax your forehead and soften your eyes," bring about adjustments on the mat that make my heart sing. The students' reactions remind me that sometimes we all need a reminder to look up and see all the life that's around us.
I love looking up, stretching up and reaching up. It feels good to bend from side to side. To let go of the devices and the busy-ness of the day and to just inhale and exhale; to simply be. Be in my body. Be in the moment. Be myself.
I'm gratified to learn others feel the same way. There's a whole 'Look Up' movement out there, being promoted by those who perhaps need it the most—millennials who were all but born with an iPad or smart phone in their hands.
I discover it when another like-minded 'look up' fan shares the work of Gary Turk with me. It's a compelling video set to the words of a poem he wrote and recites throughout the 4:58 minute long production. Turk uses the medium of his generation to deliver his message, one that resonates with just about everyone I share it with.
It's too good not to pass along, so here is an excerpt from the poem 'Look Up,' written by Gary Turk. You can view the video at http://garyturk.com/portfolio-item/lookup/
I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely.
I speak to all of them everyday, yet none of them really know me.
The problem I have sits in the spaces between,
looking into their eyes, or at a name on a screen.
I took a step back, and opened my eyes, I looked around, and then realised that this media we call social, is anything but
when we open our computers, and it's our doors we shut.
All this technology we have, it's just an illusion,
of community, companionship, a sense of inclusion
yet when you step away from this device of delusion, you awaken to see, a world of confusion.
A world where we're slaves to the technology we mastered, where our information gets sold by some rich greedy b*&^%$d. A world of self-interest, self-image, self-promotion, where we share all our best bits, but leave out the emotion...
...We edit and exaggerate, we crave adulation,
we pretend we don't notice the social isolation.
We put our words into order, until our lives are glistening, we don't even know if anyone is listening.
Being alone isn't the problem, let me just emphasize, that if you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise,
you are being productive, and present, not reserved or recluse, you're being awake and attentive, and putting your time to good use.
So when you're in public, and you start to feel alone, put your hands behind your head, and step away from the phone.
You don't need to stare at your menu, or at your contact list, just talk to one another, and learn to co-exist...
...We're surrounded by children, who since they were born, watch us living like robots, and think it's the norm. It's not very likely you will make world's greatest dad,
if you cant entertain a child without a using an iPad.
When I was a child, I would never be home,
I'd be out with my friends, on our bikes we would roam. We'd wear holes in our trainers, and graze up our knees; we'd build our own clubhouse, high up in the trees.
Now the parks are so quiet, it gives me a chill
to see no children outside and the swings hanging still. There's no skipping or hopscotch, no church and no steeple,
we're a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people.
So look up from your phone, shut down that display, take in your surroundings, and make the most of today. Just one real connection is all it can take, to show you the difference that being there can make.
The time you don't need to tell hundreds, about what you've just done, because you want to share the moment, with just this one....
...But none of these times ever happened, you never had any of this,
when you're too busy looking down, you don't see the chances you miss.
So look up from your phone, shut down those displays, we have a finite existence, a set number of days. Why waste all our time getting caught in the net, as when the end comes, nothing's worse than regret...
...Look up from your phone, shut down that display, stop watching this video, live life the real way.
Email Catherine at email@example.com.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.