First I walked every day for 30 days, then I stopped using my phone from 330-630 pm every afternoon and now for the next 30 days I choose to meditate every day for 15 minutes. I will continue to implement the no phone rule because it brought me quiet time and focus during a time that’s usually chaotic. I love how the no phone in the afternoon has helped me in other areas too. I started to leave my room in the morning without my phone. I now get up, get out of bed and leave my phone on the charger. I head to the kitchen for the routine coffee while giving my kids cereal and milk. They fight over where they want to sit, which spoon they want to use, who gets to look at the back of the cereal box, someone spills milk, someone splashes their hands in the spilt milk – I get to be present for all of this.
I got a lot of questions like, what if someone needs to reach you or something really urgent happens? Those are valid points and to that and to my future, my phone will be on silent for all notifications and if someone calls and it’s urgent, I will answer. For this challenge though, I didn’t want to be available for any phone calls or messages. I was happy to take a break from the “yanni” or “laurel” drama. (btw its laurel) I also realized that I wasn’t missing out on that much. Once I was able to let go of what I was “missing,” I was able to lean into my actual life and what was happening right in front of me.
Not having my phone in the afternoons also gave me the ability to time travel. When picking something up, I would pull up in my car and beep – I needed to beep a horn for some acknowledgment. If the beep didn’t give me the acknowledgment I needed, I said things like “go knock on the door and tell them we’re here.” I had never said that to my kids before this challenge. On the drives home from school it was hard because I didn’t have my music (Spotify) or podcasts to listen to. I had to listen to my kids or wait for a red light and look for a CD to play. One day I needed to drop off a friend from school and realized I didn’t know the exact address. I circled around a few blocks, pulled up to one or two wrong homes but in the end I found the right house. I know it sounds extreme to put all these limitations on myself – what is the harm in picking up my phone when I need an address or want to listen to a song. There is no real harm. It’s just refreshing to relearn the ability to figure things out. It’s ok to not have something right now, it’s ok to be bored right now, it’s ok to not listen to what you want right now. There is magic in the “dull” moments and we’re only ever going to see them if we challenge ourselves to put the phone down, even if it’s for an hour.
People talk a lot about anxiety these days. I feel like anxiety has become the new kale of mental illness. When I was growing up it was not this popular, no one in my class thought it was cool when my pinky touched my notebook and I then spent 5 minutes making sure every other finger of mine touched the notebook. Anxiety or having anxious thoughts or thinking I can control my environment by making sure both my elbows hit the wall is not a nee thing for me (unfortunately) I go to therapy weekly for anxiety – I am learning to manage the feeling of something catastrophic happening at any moment. The other day my pinky was bothering me, so I started writing letters to my kids thinking the pain was an early sign of any type of life threatening illness and my thoughts and love for my children needed to be preserved. I do have some appreciation for this aspect of my personality – when travelling, I’m the one watching the safety video on the plane. I make sure to get a visual of every exit so I’m prepared. If you’re on a plane with me that’s going down, you’re welcome because I will guide your ass off that plane with speed and precision.
So the above is what got me to make the decision to meditate every day for 15 minutes for the next 30 days. I’m choosing to meditate because I think it’s time to internalize the saying “let go and let Gd” (is that how it goes?) and live a life that feels lighter mentally and physically. My insides are starting to feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame, I’m so tired of ringing that bell of alarm but I cant stop & love doesn’t seem to cure it like Disney would have us believe. I hope this next challenge will bring me more peace, happiness and help “unhunch” my insides.