(By Suzie Lee Tran, MS, LAc) “Honey, can you please call my phone? I lost it… again…”
Thankfully, it wasn’t on silent mode and I was able to find my phone… again. I was just so tired of losing my phone every single day. Our phones connect us to the outside world. They have become these 10-in-1 handheld devices; they’re our computer, phone, notepad, messaging center, memory keeper of photos and videos, etc. We carry them with us everywhere. Anyone can reach us at any time if we allow them to.
“You just need to pay attention to where you put things,” my husband reminded me. It wasn’t so much as an “I told you so,” and it didn’t irritate me; but that word “attention” stuck with me. The last time it stuck with me was when I was in acupuncture school and one of my mentors did an entire lecture on “attention and intention.”
“Attention and intention are the most powerful tools you can use as an acupuncturist. The attention you give your clients and the intention you set when you practice can take you to a higher level of consciousness than following a point prescription. You will learn a lot here- point location, theory, how to use needles and cups and all the other modalities we use. But it’s up to you to develop yourself so that you can give the attention your clients deserve and practice setting intentions every time you treat someone.”
Whoa, that was heavy. Not only did I have to study and practice for over 3.5 years, but I had to work on myself? So, on top of reading, writing, and needling, I had to practice tai chi or Qigong or yoga or meditation or all of the above so I could learn how to focus, stay in the present, protect my energy and set intentions for healing sessions? I was already tired just thinking about it.
Fast forward to losing my phone-- I had lost sight of what I needed to do.
How do I do this? I can start by only doing one thing at a time. What does that look like?
When I’m driving, my phone is away from me even if it is charging and connecting to Google Maps so I can get to where I’m going. I’m focused on the road, looking at the cars in front of me, next to me, behind me. I’m listening for any sirens or unusual noises. I’m listening to my five-year-old daughter telling me about something funny that happened at school that day. I’m using all my senses so that I can get us from point A to point B safely.
When I’m having dinner, again, my phone is on the kitchen counter or my nightstand in my bedroom. I smell, taste and enjoy the food in front of me. I enjoy the company of my husband and daughter as we talk about our day and what we are looking forward to. I chew, chew, chew before I swallow putting my fork down between bites. I eat dinner not distracted, but focused on the people I love most while nourishing my body with the food I made earlier that day.
When I’m at work, I work. When I’m at yoga, I leave everything on the mat. When I’m going to bed, my phone is 10 feet away from me on my bureau playing binaural beats on YouTube as I fall asleep. When I wake up, I get ready for the day before I even look at my phone.
It’s these small things that add up. It’s hard enough to be human. It’s hard enough to live in this world that is changing faster than we can keep up with it. We might as well try to do whatever we can to make our lives easier and less stressful.
Speaking of which, our phones are amazing. Our great-great-grandparents would have never even dreamed that we could carry something so small and so powerful in our pockets. However, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that these phones are a tool for us to use when we need them. They are tools, not security blankets that we carry like Linus, Charlie Brown's wise friend, does.
As we enter the Year of the Dragon, I ask you to try paying more attention to the task at hand or the people in front of you and set intentions for everything you do. It doesn’t have to be a mantra or chant of any sort. It can be as simple as, “I put my phone on the coffee table,” so you can go one day without having your husband call your phone to locate it. 😉
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.