September 19, 2012
Today, on September 19, 2012 I practiced the iExamen. I practiced self-observation and analyzed the way I communicated with everyone I came into contact with. When I was first assigned this iExamen I had assumptions that it would not make me realize anything, because I am already so self-aware. I actually realized more about myself through this iExamen and felt that it was very rewarding. As I analyzed body language, I realized that I am saying so much more when I am not speaking. Whether it is from crossing my arms or how my legs are placed, I am speaking. I told the same story to two of my friends about an issue I was having. One of my friends opened up more to me and gave me better advice when I was telling the story with my arms uncrossed. This amazed me. As I crossed by arms, I realized I was putting an unconscious barrier between my friend and myself. I also studied the body language factor of eye contact during face-to-face communication. I realized that when I had more eye contact and nodded my head as someone was telling a story, then they became more comfortable with me and we could communicate much better. Body language really does hinder communication. I realized I was non-verbally communicating almost subconsciously whether it was from my facial expression or tone of voice.
Another factor that I analyzed was how I communicated with others via make-up, hair, tattoos, and clothing. As I was standing in line for my daily morning Starbucks, I noticed the person in front of me. This student had a Winnie-the-Pooh tattoo on her right ankle. As I was practicing this iExamen, she noticed me staring at it and asked, “Do you like Winnie-the-Pooh?” I answered her honestly and stated, “Yes, it is my favorite character of all time.” We got into conversation about the background of this tattoo and how she got it because Winnie-the-pooh provided an outlet for her when she was going through a hard time and how we ended up being very similar. This iExamen made me realize that even though there are pre-conceived notions about the way people present themselves, you could find more similarities between yourselves then excepted if you learn to communicate with them.
After my Starbucks, I started walking towards the cafeteria and noticed that a girl was wearing the same boots that I was wearing. We both noticed this right away, but chose not to say anything. We both just smiled at each other. This smile was non-verbal sort of acceptance in a way. She knew that I liked her boots and we “bonded” over the fact that we had the same ones. I noticed our similar boots because instead of looking at my phone on my way to class I was observing my surroundings. I realized that I wasn’t able to stop her and tell her how much I liked her boots, this face-to-face communication would have been deemed weird. I sadly realized that if I had her cell phone number, I probably would of texted her about it. I think there is no way of communication that is not possible. Electronic or face-to-face I believe that either one is doable if there is enough effort put into it.
I kept my phone in my room from 2pm-4:30pm. I noticed things about other’s and myself in these two and a half hours that I had never realized before. I realized that many people text me during the day and that I tend to play with my hair A LOT as I am walking to class. As I unplugged myself totally from all electronic communication of all kind I began to find myself getting paranoid. “What if my roommate needed me?” “What if my mom called me?” “What if I have an unexpected email from my professor saying there is a pop-quiz tomorrow?” My thoughts began to grow more absurd as time went on. From about 2pm-3pm I found myself noticing that everyone uses his or her phone outside. Almost everyone that I passed was either texting or talking on the phone, expect me. Between this one and a half hour electronic separations, I noticed that there is pretty flower near the bridge, I walk funny, and that I check Facebook way too much. I felt myself becoming isolated because I was the only one not connected to the world in any way. I found myself walking towards the quad and sitting under a tree. My new favorite tree. I practiced Zen mediation for twenty minutes and I made it a promise to myself that this will be a daily thing for me from now on. I found myself connecting to the natural world. I stopped caring about the Twitter updates and my friends on Facebook. I for once thought about myself and how I felt. It was truly an amazing and moving experience.
When I finally decided it was time to connect myself to the world again, I hated it. I hated being ever-present and being at assistance whenever someone needed me. I found myself being more in touch with myself and out of touch with my peers.
This iExamen has taught me a tremendous deal. Whether it be from the way we communicate or when I am not communicating with others, I am actually communicating more with myself.