Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sharing vs. Mindfulness


A couple of years ago my family had a short reunion in Park City.  We stayed at our favorite Best Western (the one where we stay for girl’s night every year) and at one point the pool was completely filled with Watsons. 

Watson Reunion 145

It was a fun moment.

My dad was sitting on the side watching everyone, and as I walked over to talk to him he pulled out his cell phone, dialed his older brother’s number, and proceeded to tell him where he was and what he was looking at right then.

I was so annoyed.

“Dad,” I said, “put your phone away!  Don’t talk to Uncle Chuck right now.  Just be in this moment with us.”


I occasionally feel that I am being guided to learn about something new.  In the last few months this new thing has been the concept of mindfulness—“the gentle effort to be continuously present in the moment.”  As I have read and thought about this idea I have seen that my life could benefit from a little mindfulness and I have hoped that it might help me feel more settled in this place & moment.  It’s been hard for me to remember, but when I realize that I am far away from the present moment I have tried to pull myself fully back into it.


A couple of weeks ago I went strawberry picking on my own.  It was a truly beautiful morning.  The early haze had burned off and the sky was bright blue with scattered puffy clouds. 


The strawberry farm is slightly higher than the rest of the area so the view is lovely.  Since I had come alone I had my mp3 player and I set it to play the Rutter Requiem.  The combination of the beautiful music in my ears and the beautiful view around me filled my soul with happiness and peace.


Without even really thinking about it I snapped a picture with my cell phone and texted it to my friend, telling her that I was in this beautiful place picking strawberries and listening to the Requiem.  I knew that she also loved this music, and that she would understand how beautiful the moment was.

I thought about sending the same text to another friend; one whom I knew would also appreciate this experience.  But right then the thought popped into my head—I was just like my dad.  Just like that moment at the pool in Park City.  I was the one reaching out this time, and now I understood his motivation.  He was seeing something wonderful!  He wanted to tell someone about it—to share his experience. 

I found myself caught in between, struggling between the idea of the importance of mindfulness, and also the desire to share a moment of extraordinary beauty with someone who would be able to rejoice with me.


I couldn’t decide what to do, which was best in this battle between sharing and mindfulness, so in the end I did nothing.  I put my phone away and went back to picking the berries and listening to the music.  But I wondered then, and I have wondered since then, about my decision.  Did it matter?  Does sharing negate mindfulness?  Can I say “just a minute, I’ll be all the way in this moment just as soon as I tell someone else that I’m experiencing it.”  Is there a less healthy aspect to the desire to share, to bring someone else into the moment with me? 

Part of me still has sorrow for not reaching out.  Part of me is proud of myself for making what was for me a hard decision.  All of me is still confused…



  1. Hmmm interesting thought...I don't think that there is a right or wrong answer to this. I think it depends on the person and the moment.

    Alma pops into mind when he was remembering how good the lord had been to him, and how much joy the gospel brings and in that moment he wished that he were an angel and could share it with everyone.

    Some moments I just want to sit there quietly and take in every millisecond because I know it will never happen again and I don't want to miss a thing. Other times I am overflowing with happiness and if I don't get on the phone and tell someone right then I may burst...

    I think either way is just fine. Is there a right way to enjoy happiness? Everyone is different so there must be many different ways. I think its best to not worry about it and just be happy.

  2. All I know is that sometimes when I forget my phone to take pictures at an important event, I tell myself that it's okay, bc that way I can be fully present. Convenient present-ness ;).

    In all seriousness though, I feel that same tension and I don't know the answer. I do know that sometimes it is SO nice to be able to check out and transport myself somewhere else, like when I'm stuck in the foyer with a toddler at a church meeting.

  3. As a natural "sharer", I struggle with this constantly. I know that being connected to people is essential to my happiness, but sometimes that takes away from connecting to these little ones right in front of me. Will you please share if you ever find the answer? :)