A while back, during a particularly harried and hectic day, I hopped on my iphone’s app store in a desperate search for virtual tools to help me stay mindful throughout the day. I’ve found a couple that I thought I would share with you blog buds!
My top favorite apps are free, and I am in no way getting any kick backs for recommending these products.
By typing “Compassion” into the little search bar, I came up with a bunch of apps. The one that I liked the best is “Transform Your Life: A Year of Awareness Practice”. This app is designed by a woman named Cheri Huber, who has also written some books, does internet workshops, and has an online radio show. You can set the app to give you a daily reminder to “transform,” and you will be brought to a screen where there is an inspirational quote and then a little assignment, or meditation suggestion.
Today’s “transformation” is a quote from Theodore H. White: “To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform.” And the assignment for the day is to “be a hero and feel what it’s like to buck the system.”
This app reminds me of the Lojong meditations that Pema Chodron speaks about often, but these are often more descriptive and specific to certain situations. I appreciate the little reminder, that the quote is broken down for me, and that it gives me a little goal for the day.
I love the way Huber talks about mindfulness in her intro screen as “living in conscious compassionate awareness rather than identifying the antics of conditioned mind as yourself.” She talks about the conditioned mind as the mind we developed from early childhood when we were reacting to various situations in a way to ensure survival, and that becoming aware is “the process of discovering those no-longer-helpful reactions, dropping them, and living free and joyously.” Nice!
I also tried pecking “Mindfulness” into the search bar, and came up with another group of apps, geared towards the like. My favorite app out of this search is “Bloom.” You can program Bloom to give you daily notifications. Mine came pre-programed to tell me to “Refresh with a glass of water,” at nine in the morning. Thanks, Bloom! Don’t mind if I do!
It prompts me to “Take a one minute tropical vacation,” and when I click on this notification it takes me to a series of tropical images while soothing music plays, timed for- you guessed it!- one minute.
I also programed it to give me a few daily affirmations, such as, “You are a kind and loving mom,” and “Stop, think, and breathe.”
What I like about this app is that you can really fine-tune it to the affirmations that you need in your life. As silly as it may sound, if I am having a particularly stressful day with my kids, it is really helpful to be affirmed in my lovingkindness as a mom, and reminds me to take a beat and breathe before doing or saying something I might regret.
I purchased a few other apps, such as The Now, which sends you random inspirational quotes, such as John Lennon’s “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” And then there is Lotus Bud which gives you a mindfulness bell at random intervals, but since my phone is almost always on mute, this is not really that useful to me.
Part of me feels like I am kind of dumbing down mindfulness by using such apps, but the most of me is just so thankful that I can use technology to jump-start my mindfulness practice on difficult days.
Some days feel totally uninspired, jaded, and even hostile for me. I’ve been known on more than one occasion at work to cry, “I hate people!” when a particularly grisly case finds a place on my caseload. It can be really hard to remember that there is joy, kindness, and compassion in the world when I am bombarded with pain, tragedy, and abuse. These apps are a little way of reminding me that, Hey girl, it’s not all bad!
Check them out and let me know what you think!