Mindfulness is always the answer
Now I want to try a consumption diary! I really identify with mindlessly filling the potentially quiet spaces with something, anything, and am really trying to cut back on that. I need to get back to thinking my own thoughts. Someone recently brought up the concept of "solitude deprivation" from Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism, and I went back and reread that section, and it resonated even more than it did the first time I read it. He defines solitude deprivation as "a state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds." Seek solitude! Seek boredom! Let's get our minds back.
I, too, was very mindless about my media consumption habits before reading books like Cal Newport's Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, Nir Eyal's Indistractable, and Nicolas Carr's The Shallows. (I may have mentioned this in a previous comment. 😅) While I still occasionally find myself mindlessly tapping, I've since quit social media and removed all chat apps except for texting from my phone. I turned of all notifications and relegated distracting apps to a second screen that I block during working hours. And I "put my phone to bed" (off and in a location somewhere other than the bedroom) by 8pm each night.
Another mindful thing I've begun doing is leaving my phone at home when I go to church. It distresses me to see people using their phones during a service, even if it's just to open a Bible app. The presence of screens in what should be a sacred, focused, distraction-free zone seems incongruous, the antithesis of being present. Not having my phone forces me to leave less-important tasks for later and opens up more opportunities to talk with people between the service and Sunday school. I'd like to expand this to other areas of life, like not taking my phone when I go out with friends, but there are some logistics to work out before I can safely do that (i.e., how to make emergency calls if needed).
Thanks for sharing your journey with this!
Carmella, your blog is filled with insights and solid arguments for stepping away from our busy functions and seeing, absorbing the forgotten world around us. More importantly your post literally sang with poetry. Combining prose and poetry in such a seamless fashion could only be mastered by someone whose arms and eyes are open to the natural world. You inspire me to change my perspectives, put down my phone, and open the door to sensory possibilities.
Wow, I so identify. That urgent desire to do anything besides what I'm doing right now. I've found lots of growth in finding specific activities that I designate to only the thing itself and sticking with it until it feels so strange to combine them with something else that I don't want to anymore. For example, while eating I don't read. And when running and hiking I just run and hike, nothing else. Slowly finding more presence of mind and body. Of course, as you discussed, formal meditation is also key.