How have the past few days living in a world transformed by a coating of ice affected those of you living here in southern Quebec?

The most striking complication is how difficult it has become to physically move about. Walking is much slower and each step is more cautious, more tentative. Maybe you have even completely lost your footing and ended up on your ass. Walking is a great example of a simple task that becomes significantly more demanding - of both attention and energy - when you have no traction. And good luck opening (or closing) the car door when you have no solid ground to stand on.

The frictionless world in which we have found ourselves over the past few days illustrates the importance of "getting traction" in order to execute even the simplest of tasks.

As usual, what is happening in our outside environment can teach us a valuable lesson about our inner environment.

When we talk about "being grounded" or "centred", I believe that we are experiencing a state of mental "traction" which allows us to set goals and execute the necessary steps in order to reach them.

Without that mental traction we can feel as if we are floating or that our attention relentlessly slides off of whatever we attempt to apply it to. We are as handicapped in the execution of even the simplest mental tasks as when we are toddling cautiously across the icy expanse between the front door and the car, praying that the next step is not the one that puts us in the hospital in a full body cast.

We know for ourselves what activities cause us to feel grounded and centred. Yoga and meditation currently enjoy a lot of attention as activities procuring such benefits. Personally I find that cooking or baking offer a similar effect; playing a board game or cards with a friend works too. A good rule of thumb when shopping for a grounding activity: the simpler the better!

We also already know for ourselves what activity causes us to lose mental traction. We knew it even before the “industry” whistleblowers began to reveal the sinister side of their digital creations and mainstream media began to inform us that too much social media (or just plain old screen time) is bad for your attention span etc. We knew that the latest focus-sucking addiction from which we must learn to wean ourselves is the all-powerful “Like” and the tantalizing red bubble indicating that you have messages (just to name a few).

And wean ourselves we must. Would you accept to live in the ice-covered universe of the past few days 365 days a year? You would not. The good news friends is that no matter how powerful the screen has become, you are infinitely more powerful. The power of awareness is that it enables you to learn and adapt, and ALWAYS HAS. Your ability to remain sovereign over the screen will obviously also take a bit of good old fashioned discipline but again there is good news! As with the weather, we are all pretty much equally affected and traction is much easier to create with the “weight” of many as opposed to few.

Together we can support each other to use technology responsibly. As always, the best way to become an “influencer” is by setting a good example yourself!

Next blog: Making Friends with Uncertainty