Hello Mr. Notification,
Aren’t you glad that Aunt Sally just posted a picture on Facebook about the chocolate bundt cake she’s making for your Saturday get-together?
Wasn’t it amazing that your friend Bill just posted a picture of himself with a jackhammer on Instagram?
Or your friend Jane, oh God, don’t you love your friend Jane? She just posted three more pictures of her kids looking cute and adorable. You haven’t seen that picture of Jane’s three kids looking cute and adorable in at least 12 hours.
Telephones used to be connected to a wall and they used to ring. Sometimes we were able to get to them before they stopped ringing, but sometimes we were not.
Then came along a phone we were able to carry with us. But you had to be careful when you sat down because of the metal antennae that came out of the back.
Then Sony came out with a phone that was really great. It was a cordless phone that literally had a rubber antennae. You could sit on it and it wouldn’t bend.
Well, fast forward to right now. We’ve got our phones in our hip pockets, ready and available. Just like the gunslingers had the guns on their hips in the 1800s and were always ready to draw, always ready to check out a notification. Always ready to, well, not absorb other people’s communication.
Shame on all of you for not absorbing other people’s communication.
I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve been with people and I sit there and I’m watching them literally get distracted because Pavlov has taken over and they have looked at their phone because a notification came.
The first step in absorbing other people’s communication is practicing mindful communication. Communicating with ourselves to practice non-thinking and non-talking and to absorb others’ communication.
And that means you have to turn off all your notifications.
All of them. Every single one of them. None of them are important.
You don’t need to know when a new e-mail came in because you don’t need to answer it right away.
You don’t need to know when your Aunt Bessie posted the bundt cake recipe on Instagram.
You don’t need to know when your friend Jane posted two more pictures of her cute, adorable children.
And so on. The list can go on and on and on and on.
When we are not present, we’re not absorbing other people’s communication.
Shame on you, when you’re hanging out with your lover, who you haven’t seen all day long, and you’re checking your Instagram feed or you’re checking your Facebook feed instead of connecting with them.
The reason why we’re not connecting, the reason why we’re so lonely, is we’re not absorbing communication. When we don’t absorb communication, we don’t absorb each other.
So think about that, Mr. Notification. When the notifications come in, where does your thought process go?
It gets distracted and you don’t need that.
Another human being is sitting opposite you, not so they can watch you stare at your phone.
The other human being could care less about your Instagram pictures.
The other human took time out of their life to connect with you. That other human being showed up because they wanted to show up for you.
That other human being is sitting across from you to have communication, desire, love, sharing space.
Teaching you things, learning.
There is nothing that can come up from a notification that can ever enhance your life with another person at all.
The next time you look at your notification, realize that that other person could be as equally rude as you are right now.
True story: I once dated a woman who literally went to bed at night — and even after sex — she would check her Twitter accounts.
She wanted to know what was going on in the land of tweets.
She would sleep with her phone under her pillow and the first thing she would do when she woke up in the morning was to check her social media while there was another human being next to her, me, who really wanted her to fall into my arms every single morning, who wanted her to connect, to love, to adore.
And I’m willing to bet you do the same thing. At least half of you do.
Don’t kiss your phone good night, kiss your lover good night.
Don’t kiss your phone good morning, kiss your lover good morning.
And start connecting back to the beautiful communication that we have with each other.