From Type A to Type Ahh

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World – Ghandi


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Mindfulness Through a Cell Phone

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I found some space to be more mindful and intentional in the weirdest place.  I found it in my cell phone.  What was this magical elixir that freed up the time I usually spend responding to an ever present inanimate task master…notifications.  I turned them off.  I mean everything, except my phone and text because my phone is also used for work. Guess what?  After the initial withdrawal, and checking my pulse to make sure I in fact did sill exist if a tiny red number failed to appear on my screen, I felt free.  I mean truly free and peaceful. It was liberating and I could breathe deeper and easier.

I never realized how hard it is to  fully engage in a conversation or activity when my pocket or purse are vibrating and moving slowly of their own power, like one of my cats’ toys. It is this constant roadblock to the mindful and meaningful connection I have been looking for.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not a luddite.  I still like technology.  I still believe good use can come from my cell phone.  I am typing this on my laptop not carving it on a stone tablet, that would greatly decrease the frequency of posts.  The big difference is now I am in charge of what the benefits are.  Incidentally, prior to this little experiment I thought I was in charge.  Humbly, what I have come to realize is that little flat glowing screen was in charge.

As well as shutting off notifications I also removed some unnecessary apps.  In fact I believe the app I use most now is Insight Timer, my meditation app, and the podcast app.  Both of which help me learn and are consistent with other goals I have set.  Before I could not imagine not knowing the moment someone wanted me or reacted to something I said or posted.  You know what?  It turns out it is even better when you are sitting across from that person fully engaged and you get to react right back.  No thumbs up needed.


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Using a Rainy Day to Simplify

I am on vacation this week or rather a staycation as it is now called, because apparently the idea of taking time off from work to just decompress in your own home is so crazy in our destination oriented world we had to label it.  So I am on staycation this week for my husband’s spring break. Today was a stormy day, typical of spring in the south.  So none of the things we like to do on our time off, all outside and many having to do with exercise.  We did a little cleaning.  Headed out to recycling in a monsoon to drop off cardboard and 5 different vacuums and floor sweepers that no longer work.  Forget that 3 of them we moved from our last house, knowing they did not work.  The other two never worked well and, as I am going through this process, I am realizing it is often better to get rid of the multitude of cheap inferior products and replace it with a better singular version.  For us the new vacuum is mind-blowing.  When my husband saw the newly vacuumed carpet he thought we had replaced it.  Let’s you know how useless its predecessors were.  Well they are on their way to the great recycling center away from here! I also finally got the planned cleaning of my drawers done.  I had already completed most of my clothes cleaning but I had left the drawers.  Got that done this am.

As a fellow blogger noted one of the things standing between me and more inner peace and outward presence is not physical stuff ,but digital clutter.  My work email is ridiculous and there are things I can do and will.  But my personal email is even worse and filled with solicitations telling me I need to buy this or that and what a great deal it is.  I will never buy this thing, I don’t need or really want, any cheaper.  Can’t miss that.  For the last week I have been unsubscribing from email lists and cleaning up my digital clutter.

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I also took the advice of a fellow blogger and cleaned out my contacts.  I probably had over 1,000 contacts.  My extended family is huge and my job is largely about networking.  Still that is ridiculous.  Let me share a few examples to show you how ridiculous.  Five contacts were for businesses that have not existed for at least 5 years, 17 contacts are dead, 28 contacts are numbers associated with previous places we lived, and over 100 contacts no longer work in the companies or industry any longer.  I got rid of at least 500 contacts and more than 2 dozens of those were duplicate contacts for the same people, obviously very important people.  The other thing I did was disable nearly all the alerts on my cellphone.  Do I really need to know the exact moment someone likes an Instagram photo or comments on post on LinkedIn?  Also thanks Waze, but I get to decide when I leave for a meeting.  If I need my phone to do that than I am too overscheduled and distracted.  It was a rainy day but in that storm I sorted my way to more calm.

The rain has stopped and a friend of ours in playing music tonight in East Atlanta so we are going to catch his show.  I am guessing it will be a lot more enjoyable, and I will be more present with my husband without my phone constantly reminding me I could be doing something else.