10/24/2012 03:22 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2012

Blackberries Are Good for You... in Moderation

Around the time of the new moon, we think about the connection the Choctaw Native Americans had with berries and the connection to the earth, the soil, the land. In a way, these natives were so grounded and connected to the gifts that nature provided them -- wholesome, fruitful gifts like blackberries that allowed them to flourish and thrive. One could argue that our modern day BlackBerry also allows us to flourish and thrive stay connected, but does it? What are we connected to? Perhaps cyberspace, yes, but that is a far cry from outer space, the earth's space and the space we've actually live in. How strange then that we defend our nearly-addictive usage with the excuse that it keeps us connected.

Perhaps the first time a Choctaw tasted the juicy sweet and distinctive blackberry, they ate enough to get a stomachache. But this wise culture ultimately adopted a more balanced appreciation for the gift. Eventually they learned to moderate their intake, using the berries that grew all around, but not wasting them or eating them in excess. And they revered its core quality of bountiful sweetness, hence a moon in its name. So too, we must learn how to use and respect our "berries" appropriately. Specifically, like the Choctaw, we must learn when to put them down, not losing ourselves entirely in the spell it holds on our senses. Indeed, we must detach from the technology and maintain our connection to those sitting across the table and in the next seat in the car, or aside us in the elevator.

I remember a time before the BlackBerry. And while I appreciate its value for emergencies, mapping and the like, I am not fond of its other effects. Today, we are flooded with distraction and noise, and the skill is not drowning in it all. It's challenging to believe that there will be no consequence in shutting it off, but I encourage you to take your chances. And let me reassure you, this is not about going back to the past, it is really about the present.

For more by Dr. Michael Finkelstein, click here.

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