Thursday, December 20, 2012

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Two weeks ago I installed a new application on my Android phone call the Mindfulness Bell.  I set the bell to radiate its soft ring every half hour throughout the day.  “Ding!” goes the bell right as I type this very sentence.  Upon the sound of the bell, you are to stop wherever you are, just breathe, and just be.  This exercise is intended to bring you back to a mindful, awakened state no matter where you are and what you are doing.
As with some of my other mindfulness practices, the bell felt uncomfortable and I was a bit embarrassed about it at the beginning.  I toyed with how loud to make the bell ring on my phone when I first installed the application.  How can I make the bell loud enough to catch my attention, yet not disturb anyone else while at work?   My hearing isn’t what it used to be.  What if my phone is in my purse?   I ended up settling on a ring loud enough for me to hear and others that are interacting with me. 
The bell noticeably rang during meetings, grocery shopping, yelling at my kids, getting ready for work, watching TV, meditating, talking with friends, at holiday parties, etc.  It has gone off while I have been everything from happy to sleepy to piss off. 
My employees are now even getting into the bell.   After a few days of the bell ringing, I decided to explain the bell to my employees.  To my surprise, during meetings everyone hears the bell, stops talking, smiles, and continues with the discussion.  Sometimes it even makes people laugh.  No harm in that! 
To think a simple bell on my phone can bring me back to the present moment…mindfully.  Hmmm, maybe I should set it for every 10 minutes!

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