Even though I am not Catholic, I really like the idea of Lent. Of seeing how I do without certain unnecessaries. This year I made it a good one. One that not only I took part in, but my little guy did as well. We gave up all glowing rectangles between the hours of 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM every day. And by "glowing rectangles" I mean computers, televisions, dvd players, smartphones, iPads, Kindles, etc. Anything that diverted attention from the moment we were actually living.
I admit, I thought it was going to be much harder than it was. Instead of the massive withdrawals and temptations to say "Oh Frank it, just watch some Sesame Street", we wound up having fun, laughing, reading and connecting in a way I hand't realized we missed. I always thought my little bear and I were close, were in a really good place, but a light was shined on us that I didn't expect. I was missing more than I thought. More than I want to miss.
With a clean air space I was able to listen. I fell in love with the way he plays. I heard the voices he used when making his animals talk and the little scenes he created. I learned so much about him. I found out what he hears from us, mom & dad. What he hears from the world too. I saw a glimpse of his perspective. It was eye opening. He's a good kid and this let me know exactly how good a kid he really is.
Time is so precious and without distraction and noise I was given back hours of my day. I was able to accomplish so much, so quickly that the clock afforded me mountains of play moments. Not only did I have the actual minutes, but I had focus. My mind was no longer elsewhere. It was there. It was present. I lived, I mean really lived my life for those few weeks. Not saying I went and took on a bucket list, what I did was savor and taste and linger in the memory making. I was rooted to the seconds.
It was my intention to keep the glowing rectangle ban going long after Easter, but as the situational poetry of life happens, intentions get tossed. Deadlines and obligations take precedence. April and May have flown by and I don't recognize the days. P is in front of a TV. I'm talking to you. This isn't what I want, for either of us.
So here we are. At the corner of What to Do. I think I'm gonna hang a left and get back to connecting and living and listening. Go back to clean air and unencumbered thought. I'm challenging myself and you. Lets' all do this. Let's take this challenge for ourselves, but mostly for the little humans we have been graced with. Let's take care of their spirits and not just their bodies. Let's connect. Let's focus. Let's adopt the old mantra,"Turn off and tune in". How? Here's how. Set your limit. I'm doing the 6-9 again for the entire summer break. Do what works for your family, but push yourself further than you think you can. If you think you can go two weeks, make it a month. Get your alarm all good and ready, set it for your start time and let it blow. Once it goes, so do you. Turn everything off. The only exception is urgent phone calls and work related emails with an absolute deadline. Emergencies only. Texts are only acceptable if it is used to meet with folks (i.e. directions, times, "we're here" sort of stuff) If you want to read, grab a book. And when you do, take a moment to smell the pages. It will rekindle your love of bindings. (Yes, I said re"Kindle") iPhones can be used for taking pictures. Remove your Facebook ap. You can get all "Twitter"pated later. During your hours, KEEP. It OFF. No music either, unless you are playing an instrument or singing out loud. If you need to make a note, grab a pencil. You want to take a long drive, play license plate bingo. No exceptions. I know, I know, it sounds almost impossible in our day. It isn't. Trust me. It isn't.
When I'm lying on my bed, saying my final "stay happy" I won't remember the "likes" I got. I won't give a rat's pucker about the season finale of "How I met Your Whatever the Hell" What I want to remember is sunshine and freckles and dirty fingernails and ladybugs and the best laugh in the whole wide world. So yeah, I'm doing this. You?