“Technology tells us who we are. Let you tell you who you are.”
Chocolate hearts arrived on the store shelves January 2nd, Easter bunnies rest on back room pallets awaiting their turn. Sandwiched in between the turkeys and santas of 2016 and the hearts and bunnies of 2017, we find a tiny little holiday that arrives quietly each January, bearing gifts. It is called Epiphany and it celebrates part two of the Christian Advent story, out of which comes the celebration of Christmas. This holiday reminds me of a quote I recently heard, “Technology tells us who we are. Let you tell you who you are.”
A colleague recently reflected on how much she appreciated the holiday of Epiphany because commercialization has not grasped ahold of this holiday and shook the meaning out of it. This is one of the gifts Epiphany brings. There are no TV commercials for the latest gadget, no pop-ups on my screen reminding me of the limited amount of time for a certain “deal.” And not one invitation arrives from Facebook to change my profile picture so I am surrounded by snowflakes or “three wise men.” Outside of a few hilarious posts about the three “wiser” women who came after the “wise” men, Epiphany is a quiet holiday.
Epiphany comes silently, peacefully and you have to be attentive to experience it.
When we compare santa turkeys and bunny hearts to the near silence of Epiphany, the glaring difference is commercialization and technology. While I enjoy technology and all of its benefits, (and there are many) I also see how easily I allow it to form my life and influence my thoughts. From politics, to memes, tweets, and those dusty emails, we are impacted by the messages that come through the screens we hold in our hands. Technology is willing to tell me what to think about, the style of my clothes, things I should or shouldn’t eat, and which medication to take in order to make it all better. The digital expectations seep into our spirits, nagging at us to be something more, something different than who we are at our core. It doesn’t matter who we are, or what we do for a living: we are all impacted by these expectations and it raises our level of stress.
Technology is not going away, nor do I suggest it should. The key lies in our attentiveness. This week I invite you into two actions. First, pay attention to the technology in your life, and ask the question, “what does technology tell me about who I should be?” Secondly, consider the second part of the quote. Stop, grab a warm beverage, sit down and touch base with the deep part of you and ask what it is that you want to tell yourself. If you get stuck and unsure of what to say, here is a good default: “It is ok. I am ok. It will be ok.”
Perhaps in these two actions, we will each have our own epiphany. Remember, epiphanies come silently, peacefully and we must to be attentive to experience them.