Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Aloha" is Hawaiian for "Stop Texting"

I've been in Hawaii the last week doing some talks on forgiveness at the University of Hawaii-Manoa's Newman Center.  A fantastic, fantastic community of people, one that a lot of Jesuits I know have raved about over the years. It's been great to be with them.

And it's been so interesting to be in Hawaii, too.  A lot of last week was spent doing some school work and work on talks, but I've also had a couple days of R&R.  And a number of things have struck me.

For instance: Vacation is a lot like retreat.  The first thing you have to do -- and it's a really hard thing -- is to unplug and slow down.

I came to Hawaii going almost as fast as the plane that flew me into the airport.  I was online all the time, keeping up with some things going on at school, up late, going going going.  It was like I never left LA. I'm seeing the beaches, wandering around, eating great food -- and none of it is really sinking in.

And then I remembered how when I was a novice our director used to tell us before retreat, these first days of retreat, walk slowly.  Take your time with everything you do -- with eating, with opening doors, with breathing, even.   And it's interesting, when you do that, the rest of you slows down, too. That's when you "land".

One big difference between a retreat and a vacation is, on a vacation you still have the opportunity to be online a lot.  And maybe the need, too.  But I've also discovered here, there's a lot of online that's waiting to fill in any gaps of time that I give it, but is completely unimportant. Pinterest can be a great time suck. Same with Facebook. In fact, when it comes to Facebook, I wonder if there's not a phenomenon where people post MORE on vacation than normally. It makes sense -- they have more time, and if they haven't been able to keep up in their normal lives, this is an opportunity.

The thing is, if you're in Hawaii and you're spending much of any time posting on Facebook, you're probably missing out.  All things in moderation, of course, but just a hunch.  And Facebook's never going to tell you that (though I've had the occasion where friends have said, Dude, why are you posting so much right now?).  Mark Zuckerberg wants you on Facebook! So do the Winklevossi, probably.  So if you have to actually force yourself to do it. Step away from the monitor, ma'am.  Put down the cell phone.

And relax.

Speaking of which -- I'm off!  More on Hawaii in a few days.

The beach at Ala Moana. Sooo relaxing. 


Carol said...

Great! Stay off the computer, Father, and enjoy your time in Hawaii! Wasting time plugged into electronics while in paradise on earth should be a symptom listed in the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--in other words, if someone's frittering away their vacation by texting, tweeting, etc. about it, IMHO, they are just plain nuts!

Enjoy yourself!

Michelle said...

A wise Jesuit once suggested slowing down a bit before heading off on retreat. It might have been prompted by my showing up for our first meeting the night the retreat started, still clutching my laptop after having sent a column off 4 minutes before the opening liturgy...

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

Ha! I love that, Michelle. So true!