I had dinner with two friends last night. We went to an asian-fusion restaurant near Tottenham Court Road and sat outside. London is just so amazing when the summer graces us with heat, sun and no rain. People are actually looking pleased (mostly anyway), the parks are packed with half baked bodies and there seems to be so much more life around. You can sit outside and have dinner al fresco.
So, there we were, three girls catching up on men, work, the challenges of keeping fish as pets, diary-free dinner choices, the usual. Laughing, dipping in and out of hot topics, sharing and truly communicating. And people watching, as you do when dining on London sidewalks. At one point, while we were deeply involved in breaking down the mathematics of relationships and neck tattoos, we noticed a table near us where two men were having dinner, while in animated discussion. Except, they were not talking to each other. They were both on their iphones in some sort of conference call, looking in opposite directions, barely acknowledging the fact they were sitting across from one another. It was the strangest thing.
Except it wasn’t. Phones are everywhere. I looked around and I now had to count the people who did not have their phones out. People engaged in conversation while pausing to check their messages/facebook/instagram/email, pretending to still be focused on the person in front of them, but failing miserably when they realise that their screen has become a much more interesting reality than real life. I am guilty. I am a prisoner to my phone. But I do have a rule – phone is kept away from the table. Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about communication and how much it has changed with social media take over. How much it has impacted on my relationships, my productivity, my sanity. So much so, that I have another post in the pipeline about this.
But this is not a rant about iphones and social media addiction. My reflex is to jump to criticism, ‘I should be better at keeping my phone off’, ‘I should have an e-detox’, ‘I should not need to check my email 50 times a day’. And ‘I should not take so many photos on my phone’. Well, why the hell not? There has been so much heat about the notorious selfie, and the even more controversial yoga selfie. Sure, lots of reasons to hate them. Weird, vanity-driven, promoting unhealthy self image, unrealistic, bla bla bla. But what if your selfies were considered lifies? What if our desire to immortalise these moments was used as an opportunity to recognise the little bits of joy, happiness and beauty in our lives? What if we used this addiction as a way of sharing gratitude, acknowledging the little pleasures and encouraging others to do the same? Is it shameful to document a happy night out with friends with a few photos? And what about this obsession with taking photos of our food? Well, what if that motivates us to eat better (not many people in my circle of friends would be proud to share a photo of a Big Mac), or to cook more? Could it be that in our attempt to take beautiful photos, when we set the frame perfectly, albeit cutting out the pile of dirty laundry in the corner, we can focus on what is good in our lives?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we normalise the disease of selfies. I am not deluded to believe that people, pre-puberty kids mostly, feel any gratitude or bliss when they pout their lips and snap a photo of their belly buttons. And I don’t, for even a second, support spending more time taking iphone snaps than being present in what you’re meant to be doing. What I am hoping is that maybe some of us can re-direct our cameras towards a better subject. Have a look at the photos on your phone. They tell a story. The story of your life, or what you have chosen to document. When I look at mine, I feel happy. It is comprised of a mixture of people I love, places I’ve been, screenshots of inspirational quotes, happy faces, food and coffees. Moments, filled with life. The point is this – the lifies did not overtake the living. I was there in those moments, or the vast majority of them at least, and I have one or two photos to help me remember them by. I have not replaced a memory with a photo, but I have a photo album to look back to and fill up my tank of gratitude for what is in it.
In an effort to share this with you, here is a selection of my lifies over the past week or so, and for the purpose of this post it is also my account of this week’s beautiful things. Because my week was beautiful and so are these little snippets of visual aids.
My vision board now resides on my desktop. It is full of inspirational quotes, beautiful colours and manifesting materials! I love it. You can check it on my Pinterest account. Sunset in Islington, with an added sparkle. Evidence that a photo of someone taking a photo is enough to capture the beauty of a moment. And I had enough time to appreciate the power of the sunset and the amazing colours. It’s all about the green baby. Green smoothie power all the way. The new addition to the superfood ace-up-my-sleeve: Amazing Grass Raw Reserve Green Superfood. It has spirulina, chlorela, wheatgrass, brocolli, lots of other algae, probiotics, vitamins, and more. I am testing it over the next month and will report back. So far it tastes and smells better than plain spirulina!
I’m all blissed out as yoga + other stories received a blogging award this week.
I’ve downloaded the Moon app. It shows you the phases of the moon according to date. It’s perfect. And we had a new moon recently, which is the best time for setting intentions, reflection and new beginnings. So I sat down on my meditation bolster and did just that. Oh, my ever increasing pile of books. I love them. And my handstand practice – just for the sake of the yoga lifie!
Moral of the story?
Enjoy your moments, pause & smile. Whether you take a photo or not.
++ So there you have it. My supportive account of the lifie (I’m so coining this term by the way!). Have a go at your own. What do you think? In support of the selfie/lifie reframing? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Big love to you x
Image credit: Mia Domenico, Unsplash