We plant seeds with words and they take time to sprout
As communications come in at an astronomical rate, sometimes—in a reactive mode or attempt at efficiency—we respond prematurely.
Each text, though maybe only a few words, can shower love or carry a punch. Words represent feelings, beliefs, and emotions. They need a little space around them to be seen clearly, to meet us below the surface.
Text communications may come from that “spread too thin place” or multi-tasking and has not been given the sender’s full attention. A text can be curt, impersonal, hasty, and sound uncaring.
Such an abrupt or ambiguous message may trigger a pattern of tension or unresolved emotion. Given its nature as both opaque and often knee-jerk, at best texting is a way to check in, update and set something up. It is not ideal for a deeper sharing and connection. It lacks the space for words to land and the invitation for a conversation to develop and deepen. Texting wasn’t designed for “going deeper.”
Even an email is often sent as a quick response, when we believe we need to “answer now before it gets lost in the multitude.” An email quickly sent can feel cold or confusing: “What did she mean by that?” The content may lack depth and maturity of intent.
With each text sent or received, with each “like” on our social media posts, our brain sends out a hit of dopamine. That feels good and we want more, leading to a continual checking of our phones and devices. Dopamine is created in various parts of the brain and is critical in functions such as thinking, sleeping, motivation, and reward. It initiates desire, wanting, and searching behavior, keeping you learning and working for survival. It sparks curiosity and fuels the quest for information.
It’s easy with texts, emails, social media, and other online communications to get in a dopamine-induced loop. Dopamine prompts you to seek and motivates you to seek more. It becomes hard not to look at your phone or computer. This constant stimulation of the dopamine system can be exhausting and produce difficultly in focusing. Constant brain hyperactivity can lead to burnout and even depression, as these superficial relations fail to fulfill us.
You can break the dopamine loop by turning off the cues that automatically alert you to new communications. The time you allow to elapse between in-box checks can be like a mini-vacation. Bring awareness to the present moment without anticipating the next cue.
We plant seeds with words and they take time to sprout. They are nourished in the bed of consciousness. The energy builds as the life force bursts through the casing and is propelled upward towards the sun.
As the seedling grows, it is showered by the elements, the sun, moon, stars, rain and wind and all the life around it. That’s how communication is. We are permeable and interconnected and need time to develop.
This interaction is the cycle of life. You can’t rush Mother Nature. The harvest is imprinted in the seed and is manifested only when the cycle is complete.
We often use our will, our drive, our ambition to push forward, to prematurely respond, to initiate what hasn’t fully ripened.
Here are four ways to ripen and deepen awareness in relating to self and others.
1. Cultivate a “wait and see” attitude. What’s the hurry? It’s easy to text back without presence. Turn off the cues and respond with full attention. Take a deep breath and connect when inspired.
2. Learn to listen and develop compassion. Be with what is. To listen with awareness is the greatest gift we can give each other. To be seen and heard without judgment or criticism cultivates respect and relationship. Respond in present moment with love and mindfulness, not in the memory of miscommunication and reaction.
3. Sit in stillness. In silence we may hear that small voice within. We develop our intuition and inner guidance. Take a time out and look out of the window or sit under a tree. Even a few minutes breaks the cycle of overthinking and hyperactivity.
4. Trust in divine timing. We may want a certain outcome right now, but allowing gestation time may give birth to a result worth waiting for. In a world of deadlines we sometimes miss the play of variables that interact and develop to perfection. Stay open and be flexible as an intuition evolves. Be aware of synchronicities.
Sending and receiving emails and texts is yet another opportunity for living life with awareness. With practice, patience, and presence we cultivate compassion, love, forgiveness, and gratitude.