Breathe In, Breathe Out… Check Twitter, Answer Emails

 

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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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I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

 

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And here’s one of the reasons why. (Just one of them, mind you.)

My email isn’t working. Poor me, right? And when I say “not working”, what I mean is that one minute my emails were there and, the next, they were gone. Every. Single. One.

Wiped clean.

Every email I have ever sent, received, saved, or flagged…erased. Every folder…empty.

Although I’ve gotten better about deleting unnecessary emails, there were well over 3,000 of them. Years’ worth.

Gone.

I use my email as a file folder. That thing was chock full of writing, receipts, ideas, blog posts, gift lists, links, photos, videos, personal correspondences, business emails, contacts, submissions, rejections, invoices…

Yes, I know. You shouldn’t keep that kind of info in your email. (Also, I rely solely on email notifications for blogs so, if I haven’t been to visit you, this is why.)

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I went through a sort of grieving process. Shock, denial, anger, upset, acceptance.

Or as close to “acceptance” as I could get: I unplugged.

Not out of need for a break but out of sheer, unadulterated anger. Which, I suppose, means I didn’t actually “accept” anything. Whatever. I piled every last device (including my phone) on the floor and threw a sheet over it. I couldn’t even look at the stuff.

There was some fear below the surface of that anger.

I’m still wary of touching any technology. I approach my laptop like it’s a time bomb.

Tick, tick, tick…

It’s unnerving. I’m paranoid about every “update” that pops up on any device. This whole thing really took me down. Set me back. Put me on edge. Brought me up short. (What other cliché can I fit in here?) I want to get into my regular online routine but I’m so damn nervous.

I’m afraid of what else could go missing. I have notes of all sorts just sitting on my phone and laptop. And now I’m waiting for something to go wrong. Waiting for technology to fail me again.

I looked around for my notepads, planners, and calendars and found they were incomplete at best. I had some appointments, meetings, dates, and deadlines written down but, really, not many. The pages were pretty bare. And I honestly couldn’t remember when I stopped writing in them regularly.

This has me seriously thinking about how much I store on electronic devices. And how much I need to distance myself from them.

 

Have you ever lost important documents, emails, or contact info? What did you do? (Dare I ask…how did you react?)

 

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Just an F.Y.I. to all of my lovely bloggy friends: I’m working on this. Will I get my “Happily Ever After”? I’ve never been a huge fan of those but, in this case, I’m hoping for it. Or at least a “Good Enough Ever After”.