"The average person today processes more data in a single day than a person in the 1500s did in an entire lifetime."
- from The Human Face of Big Data
I don't think I'm alone. I see the tension in your bodies too: from the neck down and all over, the body clenches up into tiny mini fists while the mind goes on overdrive from the amount of digital Las Vegas it can go through in one sitting. Within seconds we can feel turned on, turned off, joyous, angry, moved, inspired, plan a whole month on a calendar and buy groceries without moving more than a total of a few inches for something that used to take days to experience. Despite my initial personal resistance, it can't be denied that processing information in the same manner that computers do is becoming a necessity these days. The outreach we can make is remarkable. Human beings have the powers to learn so much and be more well-informed than ever before. It is such a cool time to be alive.
The wonky side of this evolutionary phase is that the balance of reaction vs. experience gets pretty awkward for the body. Despite the increase in mental and emotional reach, we're losing actual range of motion in our physical structures. We are mentally and emotionally reacting to life without breathing in proportion to it, without giving our limbs/hearts/feet/hands/toes/faces a proper chance to feel what it needs to feel like in order to learn from our reactions. It seems that paying attention to the world around us and experiencing life from head to toe has become a lost art.
Perhaps balance can be achieved by getting reacquainted with what I call creature pace: thinking, doing, breathing, feeling feelings about what we're doing while we're doing it. This witnessing begins the process of seeing the seer (a concept that's neither new nor mine) where we can decide which experiences we'd like to keep in order to make what's next even better. Creature pace is how I stay grounded despite the overstimulation that comes with digital interaction and obligations. Creature pace keeps my motivations fresh and my actions wholehearted. It keeps me connected to this body that moves throughout the world by drawing the line and adding definition to what I would drop everything (especially the gadgets) for.
I want to see people participate fully in the moment and fall in love with it again; I believe we are more effective beings that way. The reality in front of us is brimming with everything we need, once we choose to open our eyes to it.
The simplicity of getting involved in what's right in front of us is no longer automatic. It takes work and placing our own well-being higher on our value systems, which alone takes practice. Below are a few habits that have helped me be more present in my body.
How to reconnect to Creature Pace*
The main idea is pure interaction without digital dependencies, even for just a little bit. Having a good ol' fashioned wristwatch makes this easier. Writing short notes down with a pen on paper is a favorite practice of mine.
Goal: output in proportion to input.
Operate in animal-brain-creature-pace first thing in the morning or anytime that's best for you.
Examples: Take time waking up the sensory body. Eat or drink something delicious. Look at the morning light. Turn on some music and move your body all around. Do the things that make you say "F- YES" first thing in the morning to get you stoked for your day. Walk around the block. Find a flower to stick your face into, inhale, love it, realize the feeling of real-life transaction.
For every world-beater day you have, give yourself a day of thinking about what you've done and see what you'd like to apply again for your next goal, task, or project. AKA: Reflection, my favorite kind of meditation.
Goal: Better future experiences and inventory of what you've learned. This keeps the pathways clear between mind, heart, body. and can make whatever's next high-quality and meaningful.
Because you did more than pout about how crazy life is these days. Engage in recreation. For those asking what play is, I'd say it's a chunk of time where you're participating in a anction that makes you feel spacious and smiley inside. Enjoy something. Have fun. Be somewhere out there. The state of play is also where brilliant ideas come from because even ideas need time to breathe. And, this part can include digital stuff!
Goal: decompression from the intrinsic pressures, risks, and vulnerabilities that come with doing the things you care about.
New perspective as a result of shaking up your daily routine.
Yes, it takes work to experience live skillfully, to imagine freely, physically feel and intentionally create. Stay with it, the reward is sweet: creating your own theories about life by experiencing more things, enjoying the positive takeaways, learning from the backwards steps, and coming out with your own way to be in the world. A meaningful you is ameaningful world. This creates hope; we need that right now.
*The pre-req to Creature Pace are the fundamentals: enough sleep, food, deep breaths and nourishment. Basic fuel for life is everything when it comes to anything else. It's a beautiful loop: keeping up with all of the above makes the fundamentals of self-care easy. Making sure your body gets exactly what it needs makes creature pacing a more ecstatic and pleasurable experience.