Getting Sticky

The other night I was listening to one of my new favorite podcasts, Maintenance Phase. This particular episode, “The Great Protein Fiasco,” discussed the history, and politicization, of how NestlĂ© convinced the world formula was better than breast milk. Ironically, now all the emphasis is on only breastfeeding babies. This is a complex issue. The point I’m making is mothers were convinced and manipulated to accept a product trying to replicate what most of them could produce themselves.

Other food examples include molasses and Wonder Bread. Two products stripped of their nutrient value, only to have them “enriched” by replacing all the good stuff after.

These food examples remind me of technology. In many ways technology makes us disengaged and disassociated from our bodies. The solution is often wearable technologies, or apps, to reacquaint us with ourselves. Examples of this include sleep tracking apps, or Ivy by Bellabeat, a piece of jewelry that tracks health for women. Tracking includes heart rates, menstrual cycles, sleep quantity and quality, etc.

Tracking these kinds of things manually can be tedious. I’ve made lots of food journals for various reasons. However, manual tracking requires us to be more aware and present with what’s going on with our minds and bodies. As my grandfather used to say, the human body is one of the best machines of all time. One of his great regrets was he wasn’t taught how to use it better. But is an app, or wearable technology, going to accomplish that?

I recently started using a meditation app. I’ve been meditating on and off since 2006. Usually I attend sessions (pre-pandemic) or read about meditation to learn new styles. However, these options haven’t been available lately.

From the app’s report center, I know I’ve been meditating for 17 days straight. I’ve completed 34 sessions for a total of 9 hours. But is this a report on my progress to become more mindful? Or a measurement of the beneficial effects of meditation?

I think not, based on previous years of app-free meditation experience. I’ve always been able to gage the effects according to how I feel. That’s the reason I always return to meditation whenever I fall out of the habit. I’ll complete the app’s program before making a final decision about its effectiveness. Until then, I’ll rely on the wisdom of my mind and body to tell me how it’s going.

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