I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. When my daughter was called into the dentist this morning , I did what 98% of us probably do when we’re waiting, or find ourselves with a stretch of free time…I picked up my phone and started scrolling through text messages, emails, facebook, and I was immediately tired. This instant, endless update stream cannot be good for my mind, body, or spirit. Certainly, some of what I saw this morning had me feeling unappreciated, unworthy, and even angry, so why do I subject myself to this as often as I do? The answer is that I find goodness, connection, and even inspiration just as often as I find the junk, so the answer for me must be in moderation.
Sitting there in the dentist’s waiting room, I remembered my yoga teacher’s voice. When we are done with a particularly strenuous stretch of activity, we stop in what’s called ‘tadasana’, or mountain pose. We stand still with our hands at our heart’s center. The teacher knows this is when our thoughts will come rushing back in, so she coaches us through it towards more mindfulness. She says to notice the thoughts, and then to let them go. Notice the feel of the air conditioning, the sound of the music, and then just let them go. Notice our hearts starting to slow, the feel of our breath, and just be. It’s a very peaceful thing to do, and I wondered, as I was sitting in that waiting room chair, why I don’t practice this more outside in the real world.
So, I tried it out. I put down my phone and I breathed in and out. It was a pediatric dentist’s office, so there was a lot to notice, and I did. I noticed colorful chairs, paper mache puffer fish and seahorses, a shark painted on the wall, an aquarium, mothers, kids, lots of phones. I breathed in and out. I tried not to think of what I looked like to the people around me, and that’s thankfully something that’s much easier on this side of forty. By the time my daughter came out, I was probably about five minutes away from falling asleep.
I think it’s true that we can choose to let in peace, God, and grace, or we can build walls to keep them out. At this time in my life, I want to do everything I can to let in light and keep out the dark. For me, this is going to mean less time allowing others to tell me my worth through the warped lens of a screen, and my own sometimes faulty interpretations. I know who and Whose I am, and I want to make more time to remember that, and to breathe. Even at the dentist.