What's your default in a weird situation? In any situation, for that matter. Like, what's your go-to mechanism of comfort, or control, or peace, or satisfaction, or joy, or encouragement?
If you don't have one answer for all of those, that's totally fine. In fact, I think I'd say that's normal (whatever that is). A default mechanism when searching for comfort could and likely will look much different than a default mechanism when searching for encouragement, for example.
These thoughts are stemming mainly from a TED talk one of my professors showed our media, culture, and technology class. The speaker, Sherry Turkle, argues that the more we turn to technology for affirmation, self-confidence, or whatever the assurance need may be, the less we will ever be able to build true self-confidence and to affirm ourselves. Her point got me thinking - how often do I reach for my phone? Because I don't want anyone but myself to know the answer to that question, I'll turn it over to you: how often do you reach for your phone?
Answering a phone call or a text message, maybe an email - those are separate tasks that usually require more of an immediate response than does a scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, so I'm not talking about those. Maybe another time. What I am talking about are the times in the middle of class when I check my phone (sorry, professors) for no reason other than being bored of the lecture; the times waiting for a friend to arrive somewhere when I can't seem to just sit and be and observe and breathe, but rather must be busy on my phone; the times when I'm not feeling fantastic about myself or my current circumstances and somehow believe that checking social media will lift my spirits.
I'm an introvert, so my number one skill is spending time alone. Yet, Sherry helped me realize that, often, I'm not really alone anymore in my feelings because social media has persuaded me to believe being alone with myself < being alone with likes, comments, Snapchats, etc. Somehow, my own feelings have been hushed by the hustle and bustle and high demands of the virtual community within my pocket-size device.
It's no flippin' wonder I've had such trouble lately. Well, not to worry - it hasn't been, like, a ton of trouble, but just enough to occupy my mind at a frustrating capacity. You know? Anyway, I can't help but wonder at the power that could come if I just let myself... breathe, sigh, be, think, feel. Every once in a while, I do that. I escape and watch God paint the sky pinks and purples and blues just above the horizon as He gracefully pulls the sun down for the night. I read, I think, I pray, I look at the water and just... ahhhhhhh.
Then, the weekdays come rolling in as a storm would during those peaceful escapes. They steal away my time and fill my mind and eliminate reminders to just be, replacing them with silly urges to check my phone to see what's going on in the world of social media.
I'm reminded of Intuitive Eating. Before I sit down for, or even begin preparing, a meal, I always check my hunger level. If nothing seems to be rumbling and if no food makes my mouth water, I don't consider it time to eat. Same thing here - if I don't feel any buzz or hear any ringing, why should I pull my phone out of my bag? To mindlessly check notifications? No, because just like with eating, mindlessly snacking on something when my body isn't in need won't do any good.
Has my phone become my default mechanism?
At times, I actually find myself throwing my phone across the room. Literally. Not kidding in the slightest (though I always make sure it lands on the couch or other soft surface). Like I would with food if I were constantly eating, I get sick of always having my phone around me!
This is me, promising myself to allow those moments to breathe, sigh, be, think, feel, even when doing so may seem terrifying and so uncomfortable I want to jump out of my own pants.
Today, actually, I experienced a default mechanism I didn't know existed - protein bars. When in doubt, protein bars usually come to the rescue. I tried my hand - three times, might I add - at making some baked donuts, which turned out 1) like underbaked, lumpy circles of coconut flour, 2) like fully baked rocks of coconut flour, and 3) like flat, lifeless discs of brown rice flour. I resorted to protein bars.
They never fail. They are a new default mechanism and I am totally okay with that.
Makes 6-8 bars
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (use any nut/seed butter, but I love this flavor)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 scoops protein powder (~1/4-1/3 cup)
1 tbsp. maple syrup
4 Medjool dates (pits removed), roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
- Stir together the sunflower seed butter, protein powder, maple syrup, and spices until combined. Gently fold in the carrots and dates.
- Press into a small rectangular dish (whatever you have on hand probably works), freeze until firm, and slice when ready to eat.
- Store in the freezer for a few months.