Julia Maher ’23
Last weekend, I finally decided to update my iPhone. I went about it nonchalantly, not expecting anything special or different. Once the white background and apple icon appeared on the screen, it started loading but did not finish until 10 minutes later. Frustrated and bored, I tried to press my home button, desperate to return to an array of vibrant apps, although I knew this was impossible. I was stuck for 10 minutes with no phone. 10 minutes. This probably does not sound like a long time to eliminate technology, but it felt like more like 10 hours.
When I scanned my dorm room for 10 minutes while my phone updated, my senses heightened considerably, and I saw many things that I had glossed over previously. I recognized the colors and textures of different items, the fragrance of the diffuser, and the white noise of the fan. Through noticing more of my environment and being present, I automatically expressed more gratitude than usual.
This occasion made me realize that I never truly pause each day. I go about my day in a rush, express little gratitude and forget to practice mindfulness. And, when I sit in complete silence with nothing in my hands, I feel embarrassed—even guilty—that I am not doing anything.
Why should people feel guilty for taking a break? Sometimes it is okay and necessary to rest and reflect. Personally, I need a substantial amount of reflective time every day to feel healthy and grounded mentally and spiritually. Some people might not need as much time as others, but setting aside at least a few minutes alone each day to practice mindfulness and be present is crucial. Although more adult Americans have adopted meditative practices in recent years, about 14.2% according to the CDC, there are still many who do not participate. This is concerning, especially considering that 46.4% of adult Americans will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, like anxiety or depression, among many others illnesses. Meditative practices are important to adopt because they can allow people to focus on their wellbeing, assess their emotional state and ease mental stress.
As Holy Cross students, we are obviously very active and busy. Although our schedules are packed, we can still find even five minutes each day to be still. We need to care for our whole selves, not just our academic and athletic selves. Through this practice, we can begin to know and care about ourselves and our blessings more profoundly.