Breathe In, Breathe Out… Check Twitter, Answer Emails

 

Meditation Beach - sig

 

I’m meditating.

Yay, me.

I’ve tried this before but never stuck with it.

Meditation has always felt like a hand-me-down sweater that looked pretty on my older sister but never fit me quite right.

So, recently, I ditched the books and switched on my phone.

That’s right. I’d decided to turn my phone off to reduce stress. Now I’m going to turn it on again (first thing in the morning—fab way to start the day) with emails, calendars, and social media waiting to pop up and bury me in notifications. Why? To reduce stress, of course.

A soft voice is telling me to take a deep breath in…and out…in…and out, feeling the stress melt away as I become mindful of the TEXT MESSAGE: WHAT TIME IS YOUR DR APPT? in…and out…notice your breath rising and falling…rising…falling…TWITTER: SOMEONE LIKED ONE OF YOUR TWEETS! notice where the tension in your body is…WORDPRESS: NEW COMMENT WAITING APPROVAL ON LEMON SHARK REEF!

Cell phones are an odd place to go for relaxation.

Yet, here we are. Or, as I like to say, “It has come to this.” The digital generation where everything you could ever want is waiting on your home screen.

‘Tis true. There’s an app for pretty much everything now (but that’s another barrel of bananas).

There are tons of meditation apps out there ranging in focus (housework, walking, commuting, work, pregnancy…) and price (free, $100/year, $30/year, $3.99 one-time purchase…). With all the choices available, I’m overwhelmed. I’m spending a lot of time sifting through them. I’m having difficulty choosing one. It’s starting to stress me out.

I don’t write about irony a lot but a lot of things I write are ironic.

This is one of them.

First, turning on a device that’s distracting and stressful to become mindful and reduce stress.

Second, trying to choose one in the enormous collection of meditation apps saturating the virtual world.

Yes, I can turn off my notifications when I meditate. Then turn them all back on. Every. Single. Time. Yeah, that won’t happen. And phones ring with, like, phone calls. Yes, I can turn my ringer off. That won’t happen, either. Also, they have handy things like reminders, notes, and to-do lists that screech, “LOOK AT ME! I’M IMPORTANT!” And you have to yell back at them that you’re on your way to Calm and you’ll get to them later and, by that point, you’ve lost your way.

 

“How do I get to Calm?”

“Oh, that’s easy. Go to the corner of Distraction and Stress. Take a sharp right onto Digital Way, where you’ll see notes, reminders, and to-do lists. Pass those and keep going straight until you reach Relaxing Scenery. If you don’t like that space, you can dive into the scum-covered Decision Pond and wade through until you find a new Calm. Good luck!”

 

So. It has come to this.

 

Do you meditate? If so, have you ever used an app? How is that working for you? (Feel free to drop the name of the app in the comments if you like it. Thank you kindly.) Whether you meditate or not, what are your thoughts on using an app for this practice?

 

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56 thoughts on “Breathe In, Breathe Out… Check Twitter, Answer Emails

  1. Every day…and wouldn’t dream of it 🙂
    Meditation is one of those things where you need bring nothing but yourself. On the other hand, there are some very good guided meditatons out there that can be both useful and interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m a HUGE fan of meditation (good job as I wrote a beginners guide book about it!!). I can highly recommend the Headspace app – it’s the best I’ve found. You can sign up for ten lessons free but there is an option to subscribe and get oodles more in the way of OMs!! Meditation, in my humble opinion, should be an integral part of everyone’s day. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooh! I tried Headspace. 🙂 Did the 10 day introduction and liked it. But it was the first one I tried and wanted to look at some others (also that one is very expensive). There are so many and they vary in price so much. That seems odd to me.

      Your meditation guide is on my TBR list but, lately, I’ve been eyeing your Vision Boards. Books haven’t worked well for me yet but perhaps I haven’t worked well for them. Yes. Meditation should be a part of everyone’s day. I completely agree. What might the world be like? 🌺🌼🌸

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! Hilarious, Sarah. Though I know that wasn’t your intention. I feel your pain. I have only just started to use some additional features on my smart phone. I used to only use it for phoning and messaging. Slowly my use has increased and I’m starting to use it for things I used to do on my iPad, but the transition is not yet complete. The phone is a lot lighter and more convenient to carry around that the iPad. I am working towards a full transition. Sadly I find it tiring to read on the phone so don’t last very long at that, and I’m very slow at typing (is that what we do?) messages and comments.
    I have friends who use their smart phone to monitor their heart rate, and count their daily steps, and calorie intake. I don’t do any of those (it’s too scary for me!) Why not use it to meditate? You have it with you and can turn on some beautiful music or an app whenever and wherever you are and feel the need (unless you’re driving, of course). I used to mediate (twenty years ago) and found it a wonderful practice. Now, I don’t make the time.
    Do you read Gulara’s blog? She has some great suggestions.
    I hope you get past your distractions and find your centre in peaceful meditation. Take care. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes. The phone is more convenient and lighter to carry. But also difficult to read and “type” on. Among other things. That’s been a problem for me, too. Ha! I have a heart rate monitor on mine. I guess it’s that I’m older so all this techie stuff is new to me. I didn’t grow up with any of it so it all seems weird. But especially something to be mindful and relaxed when your phone is so full of alerts and reminders.
      I hope you make the time again to meditate. It’s such a wonderful practice. I really want to do more with it. (I do read Gulara’s blog but haven’t seen as many posts from her lately. Will check it out.) Thanks, Norah. 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mindful – that’s a great word isn’t it? Funny thing is, it’s often telling us to be mindful about being mind-less – emptying our minds of all the clutter!
        Enjoy your meditations. I used to love doing guided meditations with Bec when she was little and found sleep difficult. Active minds can be difficult to calm. Breathe . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I do meditate (fairly) regularly, and it has helped me enormously. In fact, I don’t think I’m understating things when I say it changed my life. Which sounds ridiculous, I know. However, a few years ago I was in a dark place and meditation was the light that got me out of there, basically. A kind friend introduced me to a book called ‘Meditation as Medicine,’ I started a daily practice and started to see the effects straight away. Now I try to meditate most days, but I have never used an app, or a mantra (unless doing a targeted meditation). Mostly I just sit and let the thoughts tumble until I find the one I’m looking for, then act on it or let it go. So if you can incorporate a daily practice into your life (and 11 minutes a day is enough to make a difference), hopefully you’ll feel the effects as well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • It doesn’t sound ridiculous at all. In fact I know people who have said the same. I believe it. And I want part of it! 🙂 Books haven’t worked so far but I suppose I could try again. Breathing exercises have always worked well for me so maybe I could incorporate that into meditation. Maybe I’m trying too hard. I would love to have this be a daily practice. I have no doubt it would change my life. I’m so happy you found this during a time when you needed it. 🌺

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Sarah. I hope you find the practice that works for you – I’d tried a few other things before finding this targeted meditation working for me, so it really is a case of trying different things until you find something that resonates with you. x

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I do, though not regularly. I don’t however use an app as I really have to be away from all things shiny as I am not yet up to a state in which I can successfully ignore things like alerts. But here’s a fun mediation video for you (I should caution you not to click on the link unless you aren’t around people with sensitive ears).

    F*ck That: An Honest Meditation

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I want to add a meditation discipline to my life, but I’ve found it ridiculously difficult. Whenever I try it I can’t last more than about 15 seconds. I did try using a meditation app on my phone, but that didn’t work either. I failed. I’ll be interested in what other folks have to say on this. I thought an app would do the trick. The best relaxing meditation experience I ever had was a guided meditation/stress relief session long ago. My guess is that there is a good app out there…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think you failed. Maybe whatever method you were trying wasn’t a good fit for you. You’ll get there. I have to believe that everyone can do this if we find the right mindset and/or method. I think there is probably a good app out there, too. I keep hearing good things about Headspace (and I did try that one – it’s good but a bit pricey). Was the guided meditation on a CD or in person or…?

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  7. I find the idea of using an app to meditate very fascinating. I don’t really “meditate” in the literal sense..but I do do breathing exercises every now and then when I feel like anxiety is starting to make me feel sick to my stomach or making the blood pound in my ears.

    Very interesting post, Sarah. #mast ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just in the last year I’ve begun delving into the world of meditation. I’ve just dipped a toe in, really, but it has already benefited me so much. I already knew I would get overwhelmed and frustrated with apps/trying to use my phone as a tool for it, because that’s how I am with most things. Analog generally works better for me! (Part of it is a very simple reason: the backlight from screens tends to give me headaches, maybe just because screens seem to amp up my stress.) So I got a book–actually, I had bought it years before but hadn’t gotten around to it–called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations. (You know, one of those easy guide series books.) It was perfect for me, and now I’m going to look for another basic-level book. Or maybe tapes? But no, I know I will do better with a book–that’s just how I’m built. Someone’s voice during my quiet time would feel intrusive, I think. For now, I’m using some articles I printed from the internet with meditation exercises. So…in case anything in all that is helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, we need to start somewhere. Dipping in a toe is great. I wish the books worked better for me because, you’re so right, people’s voices can be intrusive (sometimes startling, which is kind of funny – not really – a little). I’m looking at everything in case something’s helpful. You never know, really, what will finally click. 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

    • I actually tried that one. 🙂 Did the ten day “intro” but then… Looked around and started trying others. A walk is always the best way for me to relax and/or be mindful but not always practical. Plus I want something quick I can incorporate into my daily activities. We’ll see. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was going to share this, Sarah, but this time I don’t think you need that kind of help… I don’t meditate, at least not for a while, but (and I’m happy to be corrected here) the idea of having an app for it seems contradictory. We all need to shut our electronics down once in a while and take a break.
    Good luck with that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For sure we all need a break from electronics. That I’m definitely in full agreement with. Which is why this new attempt is so weird for me. But there are so many meditation apps and they are so popular. Makes me wonder. Thanks for the good luck. I think I’ll need it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. um… can I laugh, because girl, you are hilarious! I know this isnt funny and is actually quite distressing but then, don’t be so fricking funny. I have taken to leaving the phone in a different room. I also mediate in bed, in the dark before I go to sleep. The phone is away. It is permanently on silent and I don’t use vibrate. SURE it’s great me saying all that shit, but we don’t all have the same life style. Hey, what about going out an buying a $20 dollar brick phone, like the old nokias?? you know the ones drug dealers use, seriously though, then you can only use it for phone and text, and then you do control notifications because they only appear on your laptop when you choose to open it… just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. nope never tried, unless you count those daily moments on the large white porcelain seat when I’ve forgotten to take the newspaper with me and have to stare at the pink walls – why’d we paint the room pink? It seemed ok at the time but now it’s just so asylumesque. Anyway that’s the nearest i get to me time unless you also count with Dog when I’m so in my own little world that I try and test the theory that as you get older you fall better when hit by braking cars and bicycles. Maybe I need an app to warn me of approaching traffic. That would be a start.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve done meditation before and it’s been an intense ride. in the former hellhole of a job I did ANYTHING I could think of to keep it together except take drugs (legal or otherwise) and that includes meditation. Never used an app for it and it got to a point where I was very frustrated because I couldn’t settle down and had to switch methods to get my morning zen going. Walking helped me a lot more and meditating at the beach does work. But sitting in my home? Bit of a challenge to put it lightly. Music helps and just finding a place without the noise.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t meditate, but your post made me think of another by Julie Flanders, since she recently mentioned an app she uses for meditation. The app appears to be Apple only at the moment.

    I find being disconnected doesn’t reduce my stress. I worry. What if something needs my attention? What if someone is waiting for a response? What if…? At least with my phone nearby, I either get cheery news (hey, someone liked my tweet) or no news, and I can just ignore it.

    Though, perhaps I’m not as popular as you are. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. 10% Happier. 🙂 Never heard of it. I’ll have to check it out. (See? I’m 2% happier just hearing about it.)

      You know, there’s something to that. Being disconnected is not a pleasant, calming feeling. It leads to the “What if…” scenario. I agree. Pfft! I only hang around with you because you’re so popular I can sit with the cool kids at lunch if I’m with you. (Did I write that out loud?!)

      Like

  14. Meditation is my medication of choice. If I “take” it regularly, I have less stress and anxiety. And it feels like coming home.

    It’s not always easy, tho. But the more I practice, the easier it becomes.

    I started by using Jon Kabat-Zinn’s CD “Guided Mindfulness Meditation.” It’s a 45-minute guided meditation, focusing first on the breath, then body, then sounds (my favorite part), then thoughts, and then just “being.” If I don’t use the CD, I practice “mindfulness meditation,” anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes every morning. At work, we have a half-hour group meditation on Wednesdays for anyone who wants to participate. I happen to like group meditations, although not necessarily with my coworkers!

    Kaiser was giving out free meditation CDs for awhile (no more), which I thought was tres cool.

    If all you can manage is 1 minute, it’s a start. Finding the right kind of meditation for yourself is important, too. Do you want to use a mantra? Visualization? Focus on the breath? If I’m anxious, focusing on my breath isn’t a good idea. That’s why I like to focus on sounds. And as thoughts come, I let them drift by like clouds, or like leaves in a stream, or a film strip.

    Yeah yeah, you’ve probably heard all that before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not heard all this before. And I love it. ❤

      This: "it feels like coming home." I want that. Less stress and anxiety. I've read some Jon Kabat-Zinn but not sure I have any CDs. I don't know how I'd do with group meditation but I should try that.

      Breathing works beautifully for me so something that focuses on that would probably be a great fit. At least at first. Or a mantra. I do love a good mantra. I don't know how I'd do with visualization and I am not a fan of the body scan meditations. They just make me feel…awful. Sounds might be good but only if they're pleasant and I can't guarantee that around here. Thanks, Diane.

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  15. Over the years I have burned a number of meditation CDs, and I use those as guided meditations on my computer. I turn off email and other notifications. Do I meditate daily? No. Should I? Yes. What do I find most helpful and supportive in this practice? My sangha. What do I find most frustrating in this practice? My sangha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have tried this before it’s just… I don’t know. Was I too young? Not serious enough? Too serious? Using the wrong tool (book/CD/tape)? I’d love to make this a daily thing. Just a part of my daily life. So what is “sangha”? Is that a group you meditate with? Or a method of meditation?

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  16. I admit that I’m ADDICTED to my “To Do List” app on my smartphone. I love the ability to put a virtual checkmark next to a task. Sometimes I add a task to my list after I complete it, just to be able to check it off! (Sad, I know.)

    As for general phone distractions, I keep my phone on silent all the time. This makes me a poor choice to call in an emergency; most times I don’t know someone has called until an hour later. If I didn’t have a To Do List on my phone, I’m not sure I’d ever look at it!

    Technology is wasted on me. I’m something of a luddite, I suppose. I told my tech-wizard husband that if I weren’t married to him, I would still be watching movies on a black and white television. He gave me a strange look and said, “But black and white movies are all you ever watch.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh. Me, too. That stupid “To Do” list and my “Notes” (which is strikingly similar to a “To Do” list). And I LOVE the checkmarks! Ha! 😀 I like deciding if I’m going to use the black marker one or the green box one to check off my stuff. Yes, we are a bit sad.

      I am definitely a luddite. It drives my husband crazy. But, in fairness to me, I didn’t grow up with any of this. Got my first “smart” phone at 40. Yup, you read that baby right. Four. Zero. Whenever there’s an update, I freak. If I have to do something online, I freak. Technology generally freaks me out. Freak! (Just wanted to say that again.) Hee…high-tech, color, surround-sound, mumbo-jumbo TV for your black and white movies.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Last semester we studied Rumi, Kabat-Zinn, MacLuhan and others as our wonderful professor opened our eyes to living in the moment and appreciating art (we took field trips) and stopping, breathing, and being mindful of what we are feeling and why– and yes, he had us all meditiating every class!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so very cool. What a fantastic class. I’ve only read Kabat-Zinn in the ones you’ve named here. I think it’s crucial to stop, breathe, and just me mindful of where you are RIGHT NOW. I know meditation is more than that, but it’s a great start. 🙂

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