This blog on mindfulness and technology is called Mindful Media Musings because it combines my own personal experience, research and its application to youth culture, but I am not writing formal essays or articles. Rather I am relaying the research from the experts as I ponder and question these issues. One of the reasons I'm writing this blog is because I think the fast pace of technology is creating a distracted and less mindful youth culture. I began this endeavor as I watched and became aware of my own technology use, the times I was using it productively, efficiently and purposefully, and the times I was not.
It was an interesting progression as I began to change my patterns in the mornings. I used to wake up and grab my iPhone before completely opening my eyes. I would begin to read emails, texts, Facebook, and whatever else caught my eye before I was even consciously awake. I've tried to change this behavior, sometimes more successfully than others. Instead of grabbing my phone, I committed to writing a gratitude list and meditating for 10 minutes. As I wrote my gratitude list day after day, I realized I wanted to do something with that gratitude, so our ThinkGive project has been wonderful! ThinkGive’s mission is to inspire young people to make giving a way of life. For 21 days kids give something away that does not necessarily mean an item or money. Instead, it is an act of kindness. It could be a compliment, a helping hand, appreciation, or love. I am participating in ThinkGive as a parent, and it has been a wonderful experience thus far. Gratitude to Kindness to Giving seems to be an inherently natural progression.
In the last two days the gifts I've chosen have really chosen me. They have been about Yoga Reaches Out, an organization and event to raise money for Children's Hospital and Citizens Schools, through a day of yoga. I am SO grateful for yoga every day of my life. I'm training to be a teacher with Rolf Gates, an Internationally known master teacher, and he is also the lead presenter at the event Yoga Reaches Out at Gillette Stadium on April 27. It's my Yoga Marathon, and I'm thrilled to be able to participate.
I signed up to be part of this team several weeks ago, but I chose to write my fundraising letter yesterday, so that when the question from ThinkGive yesterday was about doing something for the community, I had instinctively already chosen it. It was a wonderful feeling to write this letter because I am truly combining my passion and belief in yoga for a greater service. Likewise, when the question from ThinkGive today was about receiving a gift, one of my greatest gifts has been receiving donations for my contribution to Yoga Reaches Out.
This is a very long winded way of tying together the work that I'm doing with technology, recognizing the distracting aspects of it, or ways it takes us from conscious gratitude, kindness and giving. By consciously choosing to start my day by writing a gratitude list rather than unconsciously beginning my day with my iPhone, I began to reap the benefits of other gifts including the desire to be kind and give, which in turn seems to have given me the opportunities to do so in an almost synchronistic way. The ThinkGive Project and Yoga Reaches Out both seemingly fell in my lap at the same time, and I couldn’t be happier participating in both.