Being All There...

A few weeks ago I read this quote: Wherever you are, be all there. It resonated with me, growing, changing, aging, life passing quickly. Immediately I decided I need to be more fully engaged. And of course, eliminating things is the quickest way to add space.

Being still and engaged is sometimes challenging for my naturally multi-tasking self. I like to accomplish things. Check stuff off my to-do list. I even listen to audio books because although I love love love to read, sitting and reading feels unproductive and indulgent sometimes. However, I can do laundry, clean, walk, make dinner, and many other "productive" things while listening to a book.

Anyway, kicking these ideas around, I came up with a sure-fire way to be more engaged: Put my phone down. Once, I downloaded an app that tracks the time you spend on your phone and breaks it into categories. I knew I wasted time, but actually seeing those hours I gave away and could never get back was pretty alarming.

At the time, I deleted a bunch of apps, but slowly, things crept back to the point that I was spending more time looking at my phone than at people. So, I deleted Gardenscapes, my mindless escape, because, when you're really trying to practice mindfulness you don't need mindless escapes. And then twitter, Facebook, and a few more. The ones that drew me to click on them when my mind was free for a moment. I need those free moments.

I downloaded an app that a friend recommended for keeping notes as I am a compulsive note taker. Anne Lamott said writers should always have a pen and paper to jot down good ideas. I do. I also scrawl notes in my phone's notes app. Often while driving I tell Siri to take notes that upon later examination are usually unintelligible gobbledygook versions of whatever brilliance I tried to capture. But, I love to be organized so I have high hopes for this app.

I observed that I feel better when I don't look at my phone so much. A few years ago I realized that I always feel better when I do yoga, meditate, and walk. All three every day. Even when I can only squeeze in 5 minutes of each--as Gretchen Rubin says, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good"--those few minutes are priceless for my sanity. Knowing that, I prioritize those, but when the busyness of life intervenes, they are often the first things to get cut.

For the past few weeks, I have missed out on some people's online lives, but I felt much more plugged into my own real life so I'll keep on keeping on. What tips do you have for being present? Do you have any apps that you love or any that drain you?


  1. Hey, thanks for the link! :-) This is a constant struggle, isn't it? I'm just now reading this post because I hadn't opened my feedly in who knows how long. I have 377 unread blog posts sitting there. Obviously more than I'm going to read! I am more productive in other ways (and feel so virtuous!) when I don't log in, but then when I do I'm overwhelmed because I haven't. Probably I need to pare down my subs list. I think that "what if I miss something" feeling is hard to push down.

    1. Exactly! I have finally given myself permission to not finish every book, article, etc. that I start reading. If it doesn't interest me, I stop, as there's no prize but definitely time debt at the end.


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