I dare you to wait.
Just like it always was before, I dare you put that phone away and wait – and see what happens.
Mindfulness is definitely a trend and buzzword. It seems that the word has gotten out that a happier life comes from noticing your surroundings. There are courses you can take, books you can read, blogs you can follow, and apps you can download that are all about helping you inject a little more awareness into your life. I’m thrilled that so many people are taking the time and energy to be more conscious about how they use their consciousness. But why, all of a sudden, do we need to make such deliberate moves in our day just to catch our breath?
I was out to dinner with my man recently. We had already ordered our food so he stepped away to use the restroom. My phone was running out of juice so I decided to leave it in my bag. With nothing to read or to do, I just sat at the table and took in my surroundings. I admired the food at neighboring tables, I glanced out the window as people passed by, I took in details about the decor that I had never noticed before. By the time he came back I had a huge grin on my face. I had been perfectly content just being there – I was practicing mindfulness just by default.
I started to wonder, what did people do 20, 40, 60, 80 years ago before having constant “entertainment” within reach? What did we do earlier in our lifetimes? Surely not everyone walked around with a newspaper, book, or Gameboy all the time. People used to have to just sit and wait in peace. Sure, it still takes conscious deliberation to absorb your surroundings without judgement but it used to happen more because there wasn’t an alternative. Mindfulness has always been a way to unlock internal happiness but I don’t think it was as needed as it is now. We are able to stifle our thoughts by constantly feeding our brains more useless drama via social media and unnecessary stress through work emails.
The habitual reaction to pull out my phone is strong. But for this week, I’ve decided that whenever I have a moment where I’m waiting for something to happen I will not be pulling out my phone. If I’m on the bus, I will not be checking Facebook. If I’m waiting for my meal to arrive, I will not be checking my email. If I’m watching TV and commercials come on, I will not log into Instagram. I will wait. I will notice what’s happening. I will follow my breath. I will use these moments as my opportunity to meditate, even if only for a few seconds.
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