If you managed to find your way all the way through my suuuuper long post on Wednesday, first of all, thanks for that. Secondly, you can likely make a pretty mindful guess at where we’re headed for this weekend’s “no-fail” mindfulness challenge.
Yup, yup. Hold the phone, or really, don’t though.
Wednesday’s post was about my “digital detox” of a weekend. Dreamy though the vistas may have been in Ha Long Bay, it was still both a challenge and an eye-opener for me. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to whittle the days away on my phone. It was more the realization of how often I look at it, even for a few seconds at a time. It’s a constant presence, if not an extended focus. It’s so second nature, I hardly notice when I’m doing it – even just looking for notifications, if not actually unlocking it and going further.
But I will tell you what. A great way to notice is when it’s basically doing nothing but taking up space, and taking a few pictures.
Am I going to tell you that your phone is “bad” and looking at your phone less will make you “good”? Nah, because you know, that would be judgment. Frankly, these little devices are miracles and it’s incredible that so many of us get to have them. But, I am gonna say that it’s time to get mindful about this glancing habit.
This weekend, your challenge is to notice. You choose your own adventure for how you go about this:
- Put the phone down (and tablet, and laptop, etc., etc.), and walk away. Commit to a certain amount of time, and stick to it. You can manage this amount of time by looking at a clock…or, asking someone else what time it is.
- Keep your distance. Don’t cut yourself off from the phone, but create a little separation, so getting to it – or another digital device – would require some effort. I like to do this with high shelves in my house and candy. You would be amazed how quickly I can open a stepladder.
- Let yourself have it. The devices, that is. Don’t change anything except your attention. Notice when you get the itch to swipe or scroll, and decide whether do it or not.
No matter which approach you take, your challenge here is to notice what’s going on with you when the urge strikes. What else were you doing, thinking, feeling, avoiding, and so on when you reached for that device? And if you took on the task of doing without it for even a little while, what happened when you realized that the fix wasn’t coming this time?
Interesting stuff, yeah? Well, it should be…it’s you.
What you’re left with when you don’t get the distraction you were looking for is you. Your thoughts, your feelings, your observations. Why you’d be trying to avoid any of that is a conversation we’ve had before many times, and will again…or maybe some food for thought for your weekend…?
If you really need a distraction, there are plenty of them out there…people to talk to, roses to stop and smell, and probably some chores that have been ignored long enough. There’s life to be lived right in front of you, and it’s not on a screen.
You definitely are the star, though. ;-)
Photo credit: Amanda Baker