Arriving Alive

In anticipation of New Year’s revelers, the towering public service signs alongside the highway screamed out their message …in an utterly silent, yellow lights on black background way.


I am going to try, I thought. I am going to really try.

A dinner conversation a few nights previous touched briefly on a hypnotist entertaining a high school graduation audience the prior June. One of my sisters in law was seated next to me and she said she had done some online research about hypnotism and she concluded from her investigation that consensus holds we are all hypnotized, all of the time.

We are all hypnotized, all of the time.

I have been haunted by this notion from the moment I heard it. Haunted because I know that whether it is true or not for everyone, it is most certainly true for me.

I began to realize how many exit doors I set up for myself from the here and now every single day, they are manifold. Among them, the time I spend with my array of electronics stands out. I begin my day early, in the dark, the only light coming from my ipad or phone. My waking takes place in this blue light. I read my email, the news and , until very recently , social media updates , those of my friends and comments on mine.

And once begun, I am intermittingly in that blue glow all day long and into the night , until I deposit my glowing device bedside…ready to be my morning light.

I am no Luddite, I adore all of this stuff. I am typing this now on my laptop and in a few minutes I will be publishing it electronically. I love the many things available to us online , from knowledge to music to books and to widgets.

But once aware of how I have allowed my life to be inch by inch taken over by that lovely blue screen… I can’t look back. I will still use all these things but more sparingly, knowing the cost. I’ll even eventually return to social media as it is communication nirvana for a highly social introvert such as myself but for now… a little time away.

My morning routine used to involve quiet introspection in the dark…maybe I can try to have a few minutes of that again before I switch on my little screen. This screen that I am coming to think of more and more in the old definition of the word, “A fixed or movable upright partition used to divide a room ,to provide concealment ”

I want to come out from behind it. In this year and the years ahead, I plan to arrive alive.

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10 Responses to Arriving Alive

  1. I love that quote. The Buddhists say that our minds create constructs–inaccurate, highly subjective constructs–about reality all the time. Even without technology, we’re all mostly asleep or in illusion. Looking to wake up, always! You go.

    • Absolutely right Lyralen, I have not a single doubt. Technology is only one piece of it! I have just watched in the rear view mirror how large that one piece has encroached on my living …but there are so many other things that contribute, with the false constructs you mention being even more insidious. Sometimes I think I spent the first half of my life putting myself to sleep in so many ways… and I’m grateful for the opportunity for using the second half to try to wake up. 🙂

  2. Meesh says:

    Loved reading this and the subsequent comments. You have captured some of what I’ve been thinking, too, lately. It’s a struggle to be more engaged and present, but I sure am going to try!

  3. You are an excellent writer, and I look forward to more of your thoughts. I admit I am one of the most “screen addicted” people out there, which I should think about in more depth…sometime. 🙂

  4. Hypnotism isn’t always a bad thing. This time of year, I often find myself curled up under a blanket staring at the blue screen of my laptop across from my wood stove. I will shift my eyes when a burst of cold reminds me to put on another log and then sit as I watch the flames curl up and consume the wood into a devilish dance. It is both a soothing and disturbing thing how mesmerizing that fire can be. Things that have the power to do great things will inevitably have some power over us.

    That said, I think it is a glorious thing to take time away from the blue screen. Quite by accident this holiday season, I found myself away from it. It interrupted the discipline of my writing… but it was well worth it to be more present in the moments of my life, with the people that circumstance had put in my path.

    I hope that this time is full of those moments for you. And maybe even one or two that are captivated by the beauty of a fire on a cold winter’s day.

    P.S. I will miss you on social media.

    • Fire is going to be set on this so cold night in about 4 minutes :). You made me really think with this one …where does meditation end and hypnosis begin? I guess the former, hopefully ,clarifies and allows focus in and on reality and the latter , in the sense anyway that I’m talking about it, is intended to obscure reality. But the line must get blurred in some instances. Thought provoking, thanks. I miss you too 🙂

  5. Jeanne Leonard says:

    “Man know Thyself. Physician Heal thyself.” Age old questions. Thank you for revisiting our 21st century version-arrive alive.
    Love, Jeanne

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