It’s February today – the month of love. We need more love – not just now, always. During a previous late winter I wrote about wanting to start a campaign. Let me say it all again: It doesn’t have to be on every bus bench or t-shirt or go viral on the internet. It is made up of two simple words, ‘Look Up’. Look Up. Look Up. Look Up. Though, my campaign has a subtitle – ‘Love the One You’re With’. So, right now, stop staring at your screen for a minute and smile at a stranger. Smile at your partner. Smile at the person at the next table. The one right beside you at the transit station.
Didn’t you go out to a coffee shop to escape the loneliness of working at home? So let your eyes and your humanity drift away from focusing on your Ipad. Take a break from texting on your cell phone. Look Up from the work, or play, that is keeping your attention on your laptop. Engage a stranger, if only with just a smile.
I am guilty, too. I have to wait to meet a friend at a restaurant table, and I immediately reach for my phone – the phone that connects me with all the people I love. I hear that twinkly sound of ‘you’ve got a text’ and I’m immediately eager to see who is reaching out to me. “No, just Look Up”, I tell myself. The greeting will be waiting for me, if I just resist the urge to look down – away from the world unfolding around me, the toddler impressing his parents at the next booth, the waitress who might linger at my table, or I could gaze out the big window – see the lovely setting sun, the small birds on the horizon, the row of frosty trees.
Or I’m alone having a pick-me-up in a favourite coffee shop – so what do I do? Voila, I reach for the comfort of my phone, to check my text messages, my email messages and maybe even google the weather. Instead, I could resist the temptation to touch my cool perfectly weighted phone (thanks Steve) and smile at a stranger, or pause to connect with a silly comment about the weather, the way people used to – in the old days – sharing a thought with someone new. Worse is when we can’t resist the sneak a peak at the iphone when we’re not alone, but are with friends or family that we’ve sought out, or who have sought us out, to spend a few low tech minutes of actual straight up human connection. That’s where the subtitle comes in – the ‘Love the one (s) your with’.
On a recent wet and windy day I stepped into that warm coffee spot to view the customers in the line-up, and those hunkered down at the tables with their half-sweet-non-fat-extra- hot-vanilla-whatever’s all looking down, hiding with their many sized screens. “Look Up,” was what I wanted to bravely call out. “Look Up. Look Up. Look Up.” I have a new idea on this first day of February – go out without your phone. I know it’s scary. But try it. Just try it. Just think your thoughts. XO