• sharonkingston

Disconnect to connect

The idea of disconnecting from technology so that we can connect to ourselves–and others–has been a familiar theme lately.  Our modern existence seems ever more tied to a screens and devices and the urgency of the really largely unimportant but addictive feeds of email, posts and feeds.  So much so, that we are marginalizing our relationships, giving way too much of ourselves to our employers and getting sucked into the hive-like activity of tools that were originally meant to make our lives more efficient!

Arianna Huffington spoke at the Inbound Summit recently about disconnecting and renewing as they relate to leadership. She didn’t focus on the qualities of a good leader but on the metrics of success.  Beyond power and money, valuing our well-being, our wisdom, our capacity for wonder (becoming less afraid of space and silence–which has been an ongoing theme of my works) and nurturing our ability to give back are the areas in which leaders and individuals can focus to be able to lead from a space of strength and creativity.  These are not new concepts, just a reminder of ways of being that we’ve forgotten in our frenzy and require us to change our relationship with technology.

Months before viewing Arianna’s keynote speech, I had also been thinking about the idea of “unhitching” and came across this writing by Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist who died a few years ago at the age of 100.  It is something old relevant to the zeitgeist of the moment which says put down your devices.   The activity of “shoring up our cracks” can create a void in our lives, and we must remind ourselves and each other to attempt to grasp the essence of the inaccessible, the unknown, the unsaid which exists below the threshold of thought and over and above society…”

From Levi-Strauss  When the spectrum or rainbow of human cultures has finally sunk into the void created by our frenzy; as long as we continue to exist and there is a world, that tenuous arch linking us to the inaccessible will still remain, to show us the opposite course to that leading to enslavement; man may be unable to follow it, but its contemplation affords him the only privilege of which he can make himself worthy; that of arresting the process, of controlling the impulse which forces him to block up the cracks in the wall of necessity one by one and to complete his work at the same time as he shuts himself up within his prison; this is a privilege coveted by every society, whatever its beliefs, its political system or its level of civilization; a privilege to which it attaches its leisure, its pleasure, its peace of mind and its freedom; the possibility, vital for life, of unhitching, which consists—Oh! fond farewell to savages and explorations!—in grasping, during the brief intervals in which our species can bring itself to interrupt its hive-like activity, the essence of what it was and continues to be, below the threshold of thought and over and above society: in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with learning than all our books; or in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat. – See more at: http://www.sharonkingston.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-06-29T14:40:00-07:00&max-results=7#sthash.OJKoeygy.dpuf

From Levi-Strauss  When the spectrum or rainbow of human cultures has finally sunk into the void created by our frenzy; as long as we continue to exist and there is a world, that tenuous arch linking us to the inaccessible will still remain, to show us the opposite course to that leading to enslavement; man may be unable to follow it, but its contemplation affords him the only privilege of which he can make himself worthy; that of arresting the process, of controlling the impulse which forces him to block up the cracks in the wall of necessity one by one and to complete his work at the same time as he shuts himself up within his prison; this is a privilege coveted by every society, whatever its beliefs, its political system or its level of civilization; a privilege to which it attaches its leisure, its pleasure, its peace of mind and its freedom; the possibility, vital for life, of unhitching, which consists—Oh! fond farewell to savages and explorations!—in grasping, during the brief intervals in which our species can bring itself to interrupt its hive-like activity, the essence of what it was and continues to be, below the threshold of thought and over and above society: in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with learning than all our books; or in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat. – See more at: http://www.sharonkingston.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-06-29T14:40:00-07:00&max-results=7#sthash.OJKoeygy.dpuf

“When the spectrum or rainbow of human cultures has finally sunk into the void created by our frenzy; as long as we continue to exist and there is a world, that tenuous arch linking us to the inaccessible will still remain, to show us the opposite course to that leading to enslavement; man may be unable to follow it, but its contemplation affords him the only privilege of which he can make himself worthy; that of arresting the process, of controlling the impulse which forces him to block up the cracks in the wall of necessity one by one and to complete his work at the same time as he shuts himself up within his prison; this is a privilege coveted by every society, whatever its beliefs, its political system or its level of civilization; a privilege to which it attaches its leisure, its pleasure, its peace of mind and its freedom; the possibility, vital for life, of unhitching, which consists—Oh! fond farewell to savages and explorations!—in grasping, during the brief intervals in which our species can bring itself to interrupt its hive-like activity, the essence of what it was and continues to be, below the threshold of thought and over and above society: in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with learning than all our books; or in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat.

So, whatever it is you need to do to disconnect, do it.  Create a device free bedroom as Arianna suggests, or screen rules for adults or digital fasts–the effort to find the space of contemplation, silence, connection that can only happen with each other, ourselves and our beautiful world will generate a great return in strength and creative thinking.

And, for the few of you who missed this…

#ariannahuffington #claudelevistrauss #disconnecttoconnect #unhitch

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    SHARON KINGSTON

     

     

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      SHARON KINGSTON STUDIO

      203 PROSPECT ST

      Bellingham WA  98225

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      Sharon Kingston is a Northwest WA oil painter who uses the properties of her medium to create paintings that respond to both the atmosphere of her surroundings and poetry. This method of looking inward and outward and, in the moments of painting, finding her way on the canvas is her approach to creating paintings infused with poetry and the memory of landscape. The atmospheric element of her work is a testament to her desire to create spaces that are undefined, contemplative and allow room to reflect and accept uncertainty. Poetry, by nature open ended, is used both in the conceptualization of the work and as a part of the studio practice. The words of Rainer Rilke have informed Sharon’s work for many years, but she also turns to contemporary poetry when it resonates with her life. She uses layers of transparent color, reveals forms by concealing and unearthing pentimenti and suggests elements of landscape in her process.