Last December, Dan posted about looking up and being intentional with our time. If you haven’t read his piece yet, you might want to because you may find it as inspiring as I did. Dan’s post coincided perfectly with my new journey with Mindfulness. I’ve been practicing it lately, trying to be more present in my daily life. I am a person who always seems to try to juggle a million things at once, and then I wonder why I have so much anxiety and stress <insert eye roll here>.  More talk about self-care (thank you, The Zen Teacher) combined with therapy has encouraged me to make mindfulness a daily practice, a necessity, just like brushing my teeth and exercising. I don’t always want to do these things, but I sure do feel better after I do them.My practice with being mindful and present initially started a few months ago when my husband remarked that I seemed to frequently be on my phone rather than simply being with him and enjoying whatever we were doing. In the car, rather than talking and connecting with him, I was checking up on the latest posts on Facebook and Instagram. At home, I was choosing to “interrupt” him mid-conversation by glancing at my phone.

Okay. He was right [for once ?].

I was guilty.

So, we came up with an idea that if he saw me on my phone when we were supposed to be doing something together, he’d ask me, “Are you here?” It was a gentle reminder to me to focus on what was in front of me, beyond the glowing little screen.

After seeing the benefits of being more present with my husband, I started to notice other times when I really didn’t need my phone out. For example, while watching my two year-old nephew, I had a habit of carrying my phone around to capture any adorable moments, and, as a somewhat biased auntie, there were *a lot* of adorable moments that I felt I needed to capture and share on social media. But, I stopped picking up the phone to snap or record everything and simply enjoyed the laughs, the cuddles, the interaction with him.

And, like any zealous convert, I took my newfound discovery abroad. I recently enjoyed a vacation in Mexico and I didn’t bring my phone everywhere. I didn’t capture the postcard-worthy day at the beach or every gorgeous sunrise. I simply watched. I watched the light change as the sun rose, noticing the similarities and differences in the sunrise from the days before. I reveled in the feeling of the salty air blowing through my hair, the sound of the waves, the sand in my feet, and the other sensations surrounding me. I know it sounds cheesy, but by not trying to capture the perfect shot, I noticed all the other things I would have missed with a screen in my hand.

As I continue this journey in Mindfulness, I know there will be days or weeks when I am more focused than others, but I know it’s a practice. I am still on Facebook and other social media and use my phone, but I’m more selective about when to pick it up. I now know that I don’t
have to post everything to social media. Sometimes a nice dinner out with friends is just that-a memorable experience that I can treasure whether it’s in my head or in a photo on my phone. And I’m trying to enjoy more of life without a screen in my hand at all times.

The more I am “off my screen,” the more I realize I didn’t really miss anything

Doing this has allowed me to “look up” and be more present. TZT 

Kacie is a middle and high school teacher at an alternative education school in the South Bay area of San Diego. Her teaching philosophy incorporates wisdom from Teaching with Love and Logic, cheesy humor and puns, as well as copious amounts of candy to induce student participation. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys working out, spending time with her family and dogs, reading, cooking, and practicing her amateur skills as a [uncertified] sommelier.