“No-Fail” Friday: Zoned out

Plane wing sunset_Louis Magnotti_Stocksnap

You made it! It’s the weekend, which no doubt means you are eagerly awaiting your next mindfulness challenge. Right? Of course you are.

This week, we met Jenna and MP, two Wharton MBA students who have created a weekend mindfulness retreat designed for busy graduate students. Talking with them highlighted the importance of occasionally stepping back, in addition to trying to develop a regular mindfulness practice. Sometimes we need to actually physically remove ourselves from not only “the noise” of our everyday lives, but also our whole daily context, to reconnect to our inner selves. Weekend getaways are great, but not always possible, for loads of reasons. Good thing you don’t always have to go away to get away. 

Unless you can actually take off (jealous!), this weekend, you’re taking a mindfulness “staycation.” I know, I know – you’re really busy! It’s already the weekend and I should have asked you to book this time with yourself months ago! Don’t I understand your life? You know what, I do. Believe it or not, I don’t actually spend my entire day sitting quietly on a meditation cushion, either. So I’m going to let you downsize this one if you want to. A day, a morning, even an hour or two, will still make the cut. It’s a “no-fail” challenge, so make the commitment that’s realistic for you. The key is, you have to step out of your zone, and disconnect from the people, places and things that serve as both reminders of your obligations AND beautiful distractions.

Yes, grasshopper, this means the phone goes off. No, silent mode is not off. Off is off. See that little button on the side? That’s it, you can do it. Wait, is someone going to be sending up a rocket and may need to call you for the launch code in these next 2 hours? Will the President require your counsel to round out the Supreme Court? OK, then, this is not the time for your mindfulness staycation. But unless those are the kinds of interruptions you’re expecting, then you really can make this work.

During your time off the grid, you may want to try a little mindfulness. Maybe a guided meditation, a mindful walk, or just some time noticing what thoughts, emotions and reactions the experience brings up in you. Is it easy, or is it challenging to step away from it all? Do you enjoy the quiet, or are you aching to reconnect? If so, why do you think that is? Maybe you’re grateful for the downtime and really don’t want to check back in. What’s that about? Don’t judge, just notice. This isn’t a willpower exercise, though, which is why I want you to actually step away. Staring at your (turned off) phone on the counter for 3 hours won’t be useful. Check out, so you can really check in with yourself.

I’m fairly sure this is the best assignment you’ve received all week, so let’s get to it. If you like it, maybe do it again sometime. You never know, it might just become a habit.

Photo credit: Louis Magnotti

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