One seemingly ordinary weekday, I was walking along the road from my home in the woods to run some errands in the little town of Woodstock, NY. My brain, churning a million thoughts — about my relationship, my work, my close friends — suddenly stopped, and what appeared before me was the most unusual and stark arrangement of low hanging clouds.
They weren’t pink. They weren’t special in any postcard kind of way, but they were long and boney, their saw-like edges reaching towards me and slicing through my chatter, landing me in a moment of supreme, holy silence. It was startling in its simple beauty and in the unexpected way the sky rendered me mute and full all at once. As I sank about three feet lower into my body, a surge of gratitude welled up and moistened my eyes.
The whole moment probably lasted about 3 seconds, but it felt like an eternity — until, of course, I knocked myself out of it with the thought: I wish I could take a picture of this. Followed by: And then I could share it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and practically anywhere that those connected to me via technology — those who are true compadres or are simply bored, avoiding their lives, or fulfilling their technology addiction — hangout.
My iPhone did not capture an ounce of the splendor I experienced, but I was haunted by the seemingly knee-jerk impulse to share. Why did I need to share it? Was I robbing myself of a profound, private moment with that impulse? Is it merely my 21st century conditioning?
There was a genuine desire to distribute the gift of unpredictable awe that bubbled up. But what other motives lurked behind that impulse? Do I need to prove I exist? That I bear witness to the grand mystery that is nature? That I have happiness? That I am special?
Or worse, do I need to compensate for the many parts of myself that do not feel deep and holy?
And even more questions followed: Have I become so seduced by a mercenary need to capitalize on my most private moments, to further my BRAND (has anyone else HAD IT with that word?) and an awareness of it? To remind, or rather, convince, people that I am someone deep and trustworthy to grow with?
I wondered, wasn’t nature’s startling display enough?
I write this post not as a judge, but as a witness: A witness to the changes that are happening in my business, in my brain, in my life, and in the way our culture is shaping these changes. And in a true inquiry about the contributions we can make, big and small, and why we make them.
What impact does technology have on your authority, and what thoughts would you like to share about it?