Writing about social media

I have spent my entire evening writing a prayer service on technology for a daylong retreat.

I want to go to bed AND I want to keep up my daily post. So I’ll cheat (repurpose) and include here a bit from my retreat booklet.

I want the retreat goer to ask, What does social media do to your soul? (This may or may not make it into the final chapter.)

Assignment: take 15 minutes to quietly reflect on how we give or receive words of love through social media. Write in your journals these three writing prompts.

I was cursed by technology when ….

Then I was blessed by technology when…

Now I know I can write words of love through cyberspace by…

To toot my own horn here (without blowing it), I was pleased with the nice response to my creative writing prompts on this blog last month. http://gettingmyessayspublished.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/creative-writing-prompts/ Thanks to Dawn Herring, @JournalChat and #journalchat for choosing that post as the post of the week.

Family Screen Time

Sometimes I like staring at a screen with my kids, instead of staring at our own individual screens. Tonite the darlings and I played wii. We were yelling at the screen instead of each other. I played horribly in every single wii game, especially wii Fishing and wii Ping Pong. The kids enjoyed how bad I was. They bonded over my ineptitude. That was nice that they bonded.

We were all fairly exhausted. One of my daughters had been to the Met, the other to the Natural History, my son to the basketball court and me? I played games with my colleagues in the 3rd floor conference room at the Leadership Academy. Yes, the workplace academy was a big success. As I’ve mentioned, I love this kind of thing — a chance to deepen friendships, share positive ideas, strategize, commit to change, help other people become leaders. What’s not to love! 

One highlight for our group was learning about and applying the three levels of listening.

1) Listen to yourself. Your thoughts, feelings. (And yes, insecurity lives here.)

2) Listen to the other. With focus, as if to a lover.

3) Listen to the global environment. The vibe.

It made sense. Often I’m stuck in a personal, reflective space when there is a bigger mood I could be aware of.

I would pay (and I have paid) to experience this kind of personal growth — to learn how better I can understand and use my gifts. Instead, I get paid to learn. I love that my job involves so much learning — about myself, about the other, and about the global environment.

Okay, so given that I am competitive and I have to face the reality that I may never beat the darlings at any wii games, I can console myself that I am good at other types of games. Like the game of personal growth. I am curious about the world and what makes other people tick. I love encouraging others. I hope to continue to share this openness and positivity and teach my kids to value learning and their own unique skills.

I hope that the kids and I do not lose ourselves in screens, but if we do, at times, I hope that we can always stop our individual games and learn to play together. Even if we are not gifted with the necessary hand-eye coordination.

When work becomes play — be it the work of parenting or paid work — it really rocks.

Off the Grid

On Christmas Eve day and Christmas Day, I unplugged.

Time off the grid was not boring. I had good food, good times with family — card games and board games. We played Crazy Eights, Headbanz, Funglish, Backgammon, and Taboo. We went outside and cut down a tree. We decorated the tree. We went caroling. We ate, we drank, we laughed.

I did not check email, Facebook, Twitter at all. Oh, noble me. But I made one mistake — I checked my voicemail. I wondered if one of my brothers or parents had called. No, instead there was a phone message from Elizabeth, the funny nurse at the dermatologist’s office. She said the last biopsy was fine, but that I had Grover’s Disease. She said, “It’s just a minor skin irritation that seems to strike old Italian men and you and me.” (I told you she was funny.)

How would I know how “minor” this skin irritation was if I couldn’t Google it? I wondered what Wikipedia had to say.

It was one thing not to update my Facebook status (‘I am making bacon for breakfast’), but quite another not to be able to peruse medical journals and find a cure for this disease that — who knows, could potentially ravish me in an instant? Why call it a disease if it wasn’t serious? I had a very good reason to search the world wide web. But noble me, I did not. I shrugged. What could I do about it any way?

I made a joke at the dinner table, “I just learned that I have Grover’s Disease. It sounds like something you get at Sesame Street.” My sister in law said, “You’ll soon be turning blue and furry.” Funny. (I know a lot of funny women!)

Well, my two days off the grid passed. I got on line. The first thing I did was check Grover’s Disease at Wikipedia. Indeed, it’s an uninteresting and very minor skin irritation. Thank God I did not ruin my social media and internet sabbath to learn that. Sometimes it’s just better not to know.