Years ago when we had checkbooks instead of credit cards, my Aunt Mary, God rest her soul, wrote on the inside of her checkbook the words Is it necessary? Every time she wrote a check these words would ask her to think, to be present, to consider her action. Several times I saw her write the word void in big letters over a half written check.

 In these days of a quick swipe, there is little time to ponder our financial choice but there is one instrument where control and presence can still stop us from wasting. It is our phone and yes, we can make purchases on our phone but the waste I am talking about is not the waste of money. It is the waste of your presence.

 When you take a picture or video of something you are saying that your future enjoyment of a record of what you are watching is more important than the 100% attention you could give now. Telling someone about what you saw and felt is so much more alive than showing them a picture of what you saw through the lens. When you look up something rather than asking for an opinion of those around you, your world just got smaller. When you listen to music rather than the sounds around you, you are being entertained. That shouldn’t be confused with actually being present. 

 There is a definitely a time for pictures and information and music but it’s not all the time. Write or tape iii? somewhere on your phone. iii? stands for Is it important? When you pick up your phone let iii? ask you to think, to be present, to consider your action.Is your phone more important than your presence with another person? Is it a filter between you and what is happening? Is it important?  Be present and choose wisely. 

I think Aunt Mary would have liked that.    

(c)2015 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride 

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