I sat outside today fixated on myphone. I felt so sure there were a thousand people liking, commenting, emailing, @-ing, sharing, being better informed, being more engaged than I was.

Then I looked up and saw my girls splashing in the water with the sun shining through the branches of the trees. And the buzzing flies floating above their heads. Their smiles reminding me the present is always less overwhelming than that time machine called my phone that takes me everywhere else but right here. I was reminded for the 800th damn time to…

Stay mindful.

Stay present.

Stay engaged.

This is not the same as social media engaged, reading the news engaged or politically engaged.

But engaged with the faces right in front of me. These faces are the most important thing in the world right now, at least in my world. There is a time for being engaged in those other ways. But sometimes we have to give our systems a break.

So this is my encouragement to you.

There is no amount of news story consumption, hashtags to follow, accounts to re-post, or comments to read, that will give your heart as much peace as sitting still with your kids today in this moment.

Embracing the blessing in front of you, even if the blessing is screaming or dumping kinetic sand all over the floor or rolling in disgusting things on the side of the road (as my dog just did).

This is where it’s at.

It’s OK to leave the world out there and embrace the safety right here.

Here are some quick tips to train your mind and body to stay present:

  1. Engage your senses, one. Look around what do you see? Take stock of what you see around you, if you can cultivate gratitude (without it being too forced! 😊) Then even better!
  2. Engage your sense of hearing what do you here? Start with the closest sound, the one right near your ear. Then the sound in your room, outside your door, outside your window, a street away, a block away, a mile away.
  3. Engage your sense of touch. What can you reach out and touch? What can you reach out and hold? What do you feel against your skin?
  4. Engage your sense of smell. (This one might be dangerous!) Try to find some pleasant smells mixed in there.
  5. Engage your sense of taste. This one can be an activity, like hiding in your pantry and putting a piece of chocolate in your mouth, letting it slowly melt. Or notice the flavor notes of the coffee you’re drinking, the sparkling water tickling your gums.

These are simple, but they are grounding. We all actually live in our bodies! I know, shocking. But it feels like most of our “lives” are spent in our phones or projecting into the future, ruminating on the past. Your body is a lamppost to remind you of your present world, which is actually beautiful.