November 19, 2018
Sunday, 7:00 am

I tried to be lazy with you today. To let you drape your warm blanket around my darkened room. To bring light in without awakening the slumber. But you are not a lazy morning, nor are you warm.  You insisted on peaking through; stretching your long and cold fingers into my den. First, you unsettled the laying child next to me. Don’t you know you never do that? It’s said to let sleeping dogs lie, but behold I say let a sleeping child lie! It’s far a greater risk to unsettle the wild hearts than to move an old dog. You show no hesitation.

And so, with your long pointed finger, you tapped on my shoulder. Not once, not twice, but several times. You do not let me sleep, though I had no desire to awaken. And with it, you gave me no profound thoughts, nor motivations for the day. No grand schemes to fill the waking hours. You only said, “up.”

I do not want to read, nor watch TV. I do not yet have the energy for yoga. My childbearing body afraid to pump caffeine through my veins. It’s torture. Not even your crows or morning birds make a peep.

Perhaps I’ll sit outside, on the porch we’ve yet to have and watch you instead. Maybe that is what you want, like all of us, company. I’ll pay attention to what you do when no one is watching. Pull me from my screens and others for just 15 minutes today.

Device-free for 15 minutes

I skimmed through an article posted on Inc.com early before the pull to sit with the morning.

according to science, it’s beneficial to allow yourself 15 minutes of device-free time per day.

I wonder if that includes writing in my journal, here? But none-the-less, I put this journal and all screens away and spent those 15 minutes outside. The air was brisk but fresh. Like a deep breath of peppermint clearing the sinuses, so too my mind was cleared. I found, just as the article suggested, by giving myself time alone with my thoughts, the loudest thoughts that would usually consume me, were able to rise and fall in the wave of my emotions without peaking into a tsunami. In the quiet of the morning, I was able to let my emotions crest, and in the stillness of the morning, as if somehow ‘deactivated’, they would fall back down peacefully. Fully felt and experienced, but unmoving my demeanor.

I was able to breathe them in and out again without movement. This experiment of mine is the basis of the study, a mere 15 min alone each day helps us to self-soothe and listen to the small inner voice we so readily ignore with social media apps and life’s louder moments. Yet, by ignoring these emotions when they are small, we give them to the opportunity to grow, fester and cut deeper. We give them a chance to grow into a superbug that is hard to vaccinate, and in turn, they then become the louder of life’s moments. By handling them alone in their still small voice, we can rationalize them, feel them, move them appropriately and work through them, allowing life’s louder moments to be ones that bring us fulfillment and joy rather than fear and anxiety.

When you get a chance, I highly encourage you to spend 15 min device free and preferably alone.  For me, that means getting up before the house does, for my husband, it’s staying awake long past everyone else and all our distractions. 15 min device free has had such a profound emotional benefit for me that now I have a place that I store my phone when I get home.  Like my keys, I proverbially hang it on a hook to be forgotten until needed. And I rarely need it. My kids have noticed as well. And appreciate the lack of draw the screen has over our adult minds. Perhaps that’s why our kids aren’t drawn to the screen near as often as we are…. they feel their emotions, listen to them, communicate them and work through them, they don’t need the distraction we do. Perhaps adulting is hard because we keep ignoring the time necessary to work through the tough thoughts until they are consuming.  I know for me, incorporating a journal, yoga, time alone, screen in a drawer has made me a much less anxious mom and partner.

How will you spend your 15 device-free minutes today?