The Detoxing Man is Present (in both actions and feelings).
I used to wear my AirPods Pro around the house A LOT. I would wear them while doing anything even slightly mundane, whether that was doing the dishes each morning or vacuuming the spilled cat litter or folding the near-endless laundry. In fact, I wore them so often that the tiny right pocket of my jeans always held their case. And, I got so much done as a result. I’d turn on Noise Canceling and tune out anyone else who was in the house, concentrating on what I needed to do, grinding away at my own goals while distraction-free. My podcasts, audio books, and music were constant companions, and I liked it that way.
Or, at least I thought I did.
My loved ones would have to call my name multiple times to get my attention. So much so that they stopped asking for my help. They didn’t want to compete with the “thought provoking ideas” from my podcasts. And, I don’t blame them.
The “digital distance” that I was using to keep distractions (and my family) at bay, was also making it so I no longer knew myself. I no longer had any time just to think my own thoughts or feel my own feelings. My own thoughts were replaced with deep knowledge of modern politics or the intricacies of apple products, courtesy of the noise in my ears. Even though I was physically here and contributing to the work of my household, I was not present in my actions and my feelings.
And I didn’t know how much I was missing. I was missing playing cards with my youngest son in the morning before school. I was missing the small inquiry about my day from my wife as we both try to get work done from home. I was missing my own ideas for how to make myself happier or even to figure out what I wanted to do this weekend. I was missing all of it.
When we are Present (in both actions and feelings) we are able to sit with the discomfort of being in our own heads. We are able to process the needs of others and not immediately turn to anger or annoyance at being disrupted from what we are “supposed to be doing.” When we are Present, we can feel hurt or embarrassed or loved or joyful or sad. We can feel it all because it isn’t being supplanted by the distraction of the screen or, in my case, the headphones.
I no longer wear my AirPods Pro when I’m around others in my home. I may have liked the illusion of near-constant productivity, but I did not like the near-total isolation that came along with it.