Day 2 – Mindfulness Year and a Day
After yesterday’s mindful revelation that traffic isn’t all that bad (seriously, this is a massive shift… and one I plan on making a habit), I realized that driving is something that drives me to distraction. I don’t text and drive, so don’t worry… no lectures required. But I would pick up my phone at a red light. Or I’d pop it open the second I’d parked…. and my nose would remain affixed to the screen until I got into my office.
I won’t lie… the muscle memory is strong. Pulling up to red lights this week, I feel my hand go for my phone. But again… mindfulness helps. I think to myself, “Where am I right now?” and I look around. I see cars, people, landscapes, trees, the sky, the road before me… whatever happens to be there in that moment. Things I’d forgotten existed.
This morning, when I pulled into my parking spot in the garage at work, I thought I’d extend this phone-free commute practice to my walk into the building. There was a crew hard at work replanting one of the planter boxes along the sidewalk. I smiled, and one of the workers smiled back, and we exchanged “good morning” greetings. One by one, the other crew members looked up from their task… looked me in the eye… and smiled. We said good morning to one another.
This isn’t a huge thing, saying good morning to someone who moves in your world. And yet, it’s become uncommon. When you’re present, and you share yourself with others in this simple fashion, you’ll find they are eager to reciprocate. People want and need to be connected to each other as we move through life. And yet, we’re so focused downward that we forget to look out and up. We forget to notice who is along for the ride on our journey. We forget that simple connections can be powerful and meaningful. That a single smile can change a person’s entire day… the smiles we receive, and also the ones we give.
Today, I invite you to put the phone down during a time when you’d normally grab for it. Maybe it’s while you’re making breakfast. Perhaps it’s while you’re riding the subway or bus. Whenever it is that you habitually grab for your phone and lose yourself in cyberland, choose instead to look up. Look outward. See who is moving in your world. Do this one simple thing, and let me know how it goes.