Where Do You Spend Most of Your Time? The Troposphere, The Stratosphere or The Blogosphere?

Earth’s atmosphere is made up of several layers: the Troposphere, the Stratosphere, the Mesosphere, the Thermosphere, the Ionosphere, the Exosphere and the Magnetosphere. The layer closest to the earth is called the Troposphere. It extends between 8 to 14.5 Kilometers above the earth, depending on whose statistics you use. We live in the lower part of it and planes fly up to the higher end of it. The Stratosphere is the layer above the Troposphere and it extends to 50 Kilometers. Some planes may also fly in the lower part of it. The Mesosphere, extending to 85 Kilometers above the earth, is where most of the meteors burn up. The Thermosphere, extending to 600 Kilometers above the earth, is where the Satellites orbit the earth. Above that is the Ionosphere extending up to 965 Kilometers, followed by the Exosphere, and the Magnetosphere. 

Unless you fly a lot, most of us spend our time down in the lower part of the Troposphere. Frequent flyers spend a lot of time in the upper part of it or in the lower part of the Stratosphere. It’s pretty easy to know where we spend our time physically but the real questions for all of us is: Where do we spend the most mental time? What holds most of our mental real estate?

three women standing near man holding smartphones

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

A fellow blogger, Dawn from Dawn Running Strong, was talking about social media and she shared that she wanted to be “fully present” with her family and friends. I read her post and it really struck a cord with me. The day I post on my blog, I am checking my email more often to see if I need to respond to a comment. My mind is distracted by it and many times, I am not “fully present” with those around me. I think that I am not the only person who struggles with it. Whether you are a blogger or not, it is easy to be distracted by our electronic devices. The picture above is an example of what I am talking about. The people are all standing around together, but they are not “together.” Each one is distracted by what they are looking at on their phones.

Whether it is our blogs, email, facebook, the news, whatever, it is going to take intentionality if we want to be to be “fully present” with those around us. The hardest thing for most of us to do is to step away from our electronic devices and “live” right where we are. 

Studies have shown that our electronic devices can be very addicting. There seems to be an inverse relationship to our happiness vs. time spent on social media. Social media doesn’t necessarily mean social in the sense of being truly connected to others. It can actually make us unhappy if we start comparing our lives with others who are posting on Facebook or Instagram.

I enjoy being on the computer, i.e. checking email, WordPress, Facebook and reading the news on a few sites. I just want to be able to compartmentalize them so that when I am with my family and friends, I can be “fully present.” How about you? How do you keep from being addicted to your social media and manage to be  “fully present” with those around you?



Time Machine Moments 1.0

When you think back on your life, are there those moments when you would like to go back and give your younger self counsel? Would you like to help him or her navigate through circumstances a little bit better? I can think of many times in my life when I could have used good counsel, so whenever I write a post relating to this theme, it will be called Time Machine Moments. I will get in my Time Machine and go back and give my younger self counsel. Perhaps you will be able to relate to some of these moments as we travel back in time.time-2034990_1280photo by The Digital Artist, courtesy of Pixabay

I would take my Time Machine back to my first term in college. It was the summer session in Eugene and all of the male students were in one dorm and the female students were in another dorm. I was walking down the hall and I heard someone crying. The door was open and so I went into her room. She was a young, frightened foreign student from Viet Nam. I didn’t know her name, but could see she obviously was in distress. Her English wasn’t good but she was able to tell me she had gone to the eye doctor and needed glasses. She didn’t have the money to pay for them. I felt bad for her and told her I would see what I could do to help.

I went back to my room and began to think. I was seventeen myself and in a strange town where I didn’t know anyone. I was drawn into her problem by the emotion and felt motivated to do something, but what? I didn’t have much money as my father had placed me on a strict budget. So, I thought I needed to go with her to the eye doctor and ask them if they would consider giving her the glasses at a discount. I didn’t feel like I had any great social standing so I thought that perhaps if I used an important last name they might consider it. I chose the last name Kaiser because of the Kaiser foundation. 

We went to the eye doctor and I introduced myself to the receptionist. I told her the problem and asked if they would consider giving her the glasses at a reduced price. She went in the other room for quite a while and then came back and told us the doctor had approved the discount and the girl could have her glasses. She was ecstatic and I was happy for her. I got no great satisfaction from the experience because I had lied about my name.  At that point, I didn’t feel I should go back to the office and tell them the truth, so I felt that there was nothing to do but live with it.

When would I step in and give my younger self counsel? I would show up when she came back to the dorm room after she encountered the student crying. If her plan was to go to the eye doctor, I would tell her to use her own name. It would be enough. I would tell her, “To thine own self be true,” and quote Polonius. If the eye doctor was going to give the student the glasses, it would make no difference what name she used. The generosity was up to the doctor, and she didn’t need to try to tip the scales by using a false name.

I would also tell her that she had another option. Although her father was out of town a lot, she could wait and get ahold of him. He was very generous and he would probably just say to have the bill sent to him. If she would just step back from the urgency and the emotion of the moment, she could make better choices. I would tell her good-bye and step back into my time machine (Yes, it is a DeLorean!) until the next time she needed my counsel.vehicle-3250015_1280photo by Dtavres, courtesty of Pixabay

As I think about that experience, are there any takeaways for my life today? I think so. Many times I am confronted by the needs of others and lots of those times there is a lot of emotion attached to those needs. I need to disassociate myself from the emotion and look at the situation objectively. Is there anything I can do and am supposed to do? If so, I should do it.

Is the situation beyond my ability to help? I would give myself the same advice I gave her, “Call your Father.” My earthly father has long since passed, but I have a Heavenly Father who is waiting and willing to answer my prayers. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” I need to take the situation to my Heavenly Father and ask Him to intervene in the situation and provide the need. I can trust Him to work out the situation and provide what is needed. After all, He is never out of options and He knows the people who can help meet the need.

I also need to remember Polonius’s counsel. “This above all: To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to anyone.” Will Shakespeare had it correct.

“You’re Taking Yourself with You.”

I have a good friend who is a Christian Counselor. We were talking about how many times we think that changing our circumstances, i.e.  job, spouse or location will make us happier. She said, “We always have to remember: You’re taking yourself with you.”

luggage-2708829_1280 Photo by Alexes  Fotos. Courtesy of Pixabay.

I’ve thought about those words a lot. If I am unhappy in a certain situation in my life, my natural tendency is to think, “If only  _______ was different.” I only need to fill in the blank. Would that blank be: my job, my kids, my spouse, my house, my car? That certainly depends on what problem I am facing. If only….

My friend made me realize that the first person I need to question anytime I am unhappy with a situation is myself. What is my response to what I am going through? Am I contributing to the problem? Is there something in me that is causing the problem? Am I just plain discontented with my circumstances and refusing to be thankful and content where I am?

Those are hard questions, but real ones that we all have to think about when we are evaluating our circumstances and our discontentment or unhappiness. Who is the main contributor to our problems? Not always, but many times it is really ourselves. We are the ones holding onto a bad attitude or an intractable position.  Changing our circumstances is not really going to make us any happier…after all, we will just be taking ourselves with us!