Yes, we’ve all heard it before. Have a “no technology day” by turning off all your computers, phones, TVs, and tablets for a full day and just being present! I get it. It’s beautiful, when we can do it. But let’s get real – that’s not our day to day lives! What’s more valuable is learning how to use technology in a more mindful manner. So let’s go a bit deeper, shall we?
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I became obsessed with the idea of leaving her a legacy. We bought a baby book and we’ve actually been pretty happy with it. However, I’m also so meticulous that I set reminders to peruse the baby book to see if it needs to be updated. I’ve seen my share of half-completed baby books, including both my own and my husband’s, and I was determined to leave my daughter something meaningful, yet more personal and low-maintenance than a baby book (just in case I ever ditch the whole “meticulously organized” gig. Also note that term applies only to my list of tasks, not my home, closet, or pretty much anything else in my world). Here are a few of the things I’ve done so far:
Before my pregnancy, I had a consistent meditation practice of at least 45 minutes a day. Taking this time each morning helped me stay more present, centered, and calm throughout my day. Despite my best intentions to have the most “mindful” pregnancy possible, I was lucky to get in a short meditation once a week. Stay awake for 10 straight minutes while sitting (okay, let’s be honest, lying) in complete silence? Forget it, especially during my first two trimesters! In my first weeks and months of motherhood, I completely abandoned all I had learned over the past few years about the necessity of consciously experiencing my life just when I needed it most. I was on auto-pilot between breastfeeding 8 times a day, (trying to) maintain a tidy house, spend time with my husband, and resuming my full-time job outside the home. I had almost resigned myself to life as a sleep-deprived zombie when I realized I needed to start with something simple.
It wasn’t going to be possible to return to my daily 45 minute meditations at that point, but could I find 1 minute a day? Or even better, could I begin seeing the experience of having an infant as a way to practice mindfulness rather than a hindrance to it? By challenging myself with these questions I found several new practices that helped return me to the present.