I ask because I’ve had a couple of incidents in the last week with my cell phone. First, my son accidentally got my phone jammed in the cup holder of my car. We tried and tried but couldn’t get it out. It was only stuck in there for about 30 hours but I found myself a little stressed out. But I quickly realized that it was a relief. I, like most of us, have become dependent on my phone for a lot of things. While I could make calls in the car through the Bluetooth, I couldn’t do anything else. I finally took it to the dealer who, after an hour and a half and $150, got it out.
Then today I ran out of the house to go to a couple of doctors’ appointments without my phone. It was much too late to go back so I accepted the fact that I was going to be waiting in doctors’ offices without my phone and without anything to read. My first thought was, “What the heck am I going to do while I wait for the doctors!?” And “What if my mother-in-law, who’s watching my son, needs to reach me?”
I continued on and got to the first doctor’s office 10 minutes early. I sat down to wait. I just sat there. Then I decided to clean out my purse cause you know I haven’t done that for a while! When I was done, I was still waiting. So I decided to close my eyes and practice a little mindfulness. I took a few deep breaths. I listened to the sounds around me. I noticed my breathing. I lifted my eyelids just a little and noticed my surroundings. There were three other people in the waiting room and I just observed them, all together and all on a phone or other device. I continued to be in a mindful state until my name was called 15 minutes after my appointment time. And to tell the truth, I didn’t mind. I enjoyed the time that I spent waiting.
Next, I had to drive all the way to the other side of town. I usually try to make phone calls when I drive but not today. I turned on the radio and started listening to NPR. The signal was fuzzy so I turned it off and drove in silence. I observed the other cars around me. I observed the trees. I enjoyed the silence.
At the next doctor’s office I was 15 minutes early (I know, I have a problem with being early!). But I just continued what I had been doing at the first office. I took a few deep breaths, closed my eyes and went to a mindful place. I was alone at first but eventually someone joined me in the waiting room. She sat down and took out her phone and started surfing. Don’t get me wrong, if I had had my phone I would probably be playing Solitaire but I didn’t so I wasn’t. Not having my phone enabled me to observe and really notice the people around me and how it seemed like everyone was on some sort of device even while walking. There are times when I would be that person but today made me realize that I don’t want to be. When I wait for someone, I want to just sit and enjoy my surroundings, observe people, look out the window, connect with the world around me. I feel good when I connect to the people and the world around me. Sometimes I forget and today I was reminded. I felt good. I felt relaxed. I felt connected.
When I got home, I found my phone and noticed that I had not one single text, not one single phone call and about 10 junk emails. What the heck was I missing? Nothing.
I encourage you to try waiting without pulling out your phone. Try it. It will be difficult at first but you may have a nice experience and we all know that those emails and Facebook posts can wait a few minutes, right? Sit and take a few breaths. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable. Listen to the sounds around you. Notice your surroundings. Are there any good smells? Do you feel warm? Cold? If you are so inclined to share, please post a comment. I’d love to hear how it felt for you.