I’ll Take the Dressing on the Side: Remembering How to Communicate – By Marney Reid

Good morning LTTH readers.  This post is about a salad, which I shall use as an analogy for life, and how too much dressing completely masks the simple flavors found in the ingredients.  Much like all the stimuli we immerse ourselves in masks the beauty of your current surroundings and, if we aren’t careful, will take over to the point where we are almost unable to recognize and appreciate the simple things.

I was at lunch with my co-worker and some clients when I had forgotten to order the dressing on the side for my salad.  I’m trying this new thing where I’m not a complete pain in the a$$ every time we go to a restaurant, and I didn’t send the salad back (especially since it was my mistake for not specifying).  A few bites into it and I realized that, while the dressing tasted wonderful, it was extremely rich and was almost completely covering all the other wonderful flavors.

I couldn’t taste the crispness of the lettuce, the bell peppers were barely noticeable, the only reason I knew what the long green things were is because I’m familiar with the texture of asparagus, and the season on the grilled chicken was pretty bland after getting used to the heaviness of the dressing.  I made a comment about the dressing being quite abundant and the ladies immediately responded with “yeah I know! That’s why I always order it on the side.”

As I was driving back from the meeting I started thinking about parallels to this rich surpluss of dressing, and my cell phone, emails, social medial, laptop, and ipad.  How often am I in the middle of a conversation when a notification goes off alerting me of a Tweet sent to me, a post or comment I was tagged in, an email, or a text.  Unless I’m in front of a client, I will invariably respond to the text, email, tweet, tag, etc.  I wonder how often I TRULY miss out on the full experience and what I could learn from that conversation if I wasn’t interrupting it  I also wonder if I will get SOOOO used to this stimuli intruding on every interaction with another person, that I will get to the point where I feel I cannot function without it.

Cassidy (one of the amazing guest authors) recently interviewed me for my video LTTH bio.  One of the questions was: “how has being conscious affected your life?”  I would say that prior to being “conscious” (and I will once again reiterate, as I did in the interview, that this is a constant process of learning for me) I would not have even noticed that this intrusion of stimuli was negatively affecting my interaction, the potential outcome of that conversation, or possibly the relationship I have with the person I’m dialoging with.

I have a special person in my life right now (romantic level).  I love every second I spend with him and I appreciate the kindness and joy he brings to my life.  We have a rule that when we’re together, unless it’s during working hours and we aren’t taking a vacation, our phones get put away, the computers stay in their cases, and we focus on each other.  Partly because we are both so busy we don’t see each other super often, but mostly because we know that if we kept these devices on and near us, we wouldn’t connect on the level we need to in order to keep romance and emotional connection alive and thriving.

So my question to LTTH readers is this: Have you found that there are some relationships in your life that seem strained or disjointed lately?  Are you having a hard time really connecting with this person (be it family, friend, romance, or even co-worker)?  Have you reflected on how much stimuli you both allow to intrude on your moments of physical and verbal interaction?  And if the answer is “a whole TON of stimuli distracts me while I’m conversing with this person,” then what would be the harm of trying to shut these devices down for that small amount of time where you should be solely in the moment and focused on them?

They say the art of communication is dying.  I don’t agree with this.  I think it still exists…wishing to be tasted, hoping you remember to “take the dressing on the side,” waiting for you to REMEMBER how to communicate and to go back to that time, before rich dressing and stimuli existed.