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I like to do it three times a day.

I’m talking about meditating. Get your mind out of the gutter, you perv.

I’m fascinated by the intersection of mindfulness and technology. Usually, gadgets are considered a distraction from presence but they can also be a valuable tool.

The Mindfulness App for the iPhone is a great meditation timer but what I love most is the meditation bell that I set up to chime three times as day.

When I hear the sweet little bell, I drop whatever I am doing, I close my eyes and take three deep breaths in and out. I clear my mind and enter that silence.

After being in that stillness, I can then check in with what I am doing at that particular moment. Does it make me happy? Is it a wise use of my time? Is it in line with the simple, mindful life I want? If it’s something unfun but necessary, can I at least appreciate some aspect of it? All those things help keep me on track and awake in my life.

At some point, I decided I only needed to take one deep breath when I heard the chime. One breath was enough, I figured, and then I could get back to whatever else I was doing. Really?? Am I so busy and important that I need to cheat myself out of two breaths? That decision needed some re-assessing; needless to say I’m back to my full three breaths now.

It’s wonderful to have a formal sitting practice  – which I do, most days I sit for 20-30 minutes –  but if all that mindfulness stays on the cushion and doesn’t translate to an increased awareness in the rest of my life, it’s pointless.

There is so much that goes on during the day that can just carry us from one moment to the next, with little thought about where we are going. Appreciation for the small, simple things gets lost beneath the need to get the dishwasher unloaded. We cave to unhealthy habits that we know are useless. This little bell helps me bridge that gap between my mindful intentions and zoning out in front reruns of Bethany Ever After.

Not that I ever do that.

(Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day and much love to those who partake in the holiday. I’m not a hater, just an ignorer. I’ll be spending the evening at a yoga philosophy lecture!)

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