A time to switch off and re-connect

Like everyone else in this industry, I spend most of my life fully engaged with the breakneck speed of change through technology. I’m in meetings, on planes, at conferences, customer events, speaking engagements. Any gaps in that schedule are soaked-up with conference calls, webinars, proposals and partnerships – constant, unrelenting, external communication. It is, after all, the very essence of the industry I am in. All-consuming connectivity, communication and commerce.

But on Friday morning this week, I will push the Pause button. I have the unenviable task of attending the funeral of a 9-year old boy. I was on vacation with his family earlier this year, he was in the full bloom of youth flying down the ski slopes. In the early hours of Monday he succumbed to a cancer that struck out of nowhere. He did not reached his tenth birthday.

So this Friday morning, laptops will be closed, tablets put away, cell phones switched off. There will be no browsing or app updates, no instant or text messaging. With my fellow mourners, I will switch off from the outside world and re-connect with a range of thoughts and emotions that we normally do everything possible to avoid, or to glance past. Our contact with each other will be through looks and actions, a few spoken words unmediated by any technology. A uniquely potent human experience.

Switching-off from the world of constant connection for a time forces us to re-connect with the private, internal dialog that seems easy to avoid now that the tools for external communication are so pervasive. In a few days I will be drawn back into the hyperactive world of mobile communications and commerce. This week, for a time, that will all fade into the background as I focus on a young boy, now beyond the reach of any form of communication apart from mind and memory.

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