Meet the Founder
Kristy Ryushin McDonald has been a business and communication professor for over 16 years, whose passion is helping people reach their full potential in innovation, communication and happiness. She started consulting in mindfulness in 2015. Kristy is a certified mindfulness, meditation and yoga instructor. Kristy lived in Thailand studying meditation, mindfulness and body-mind connection. She currently studies meditation under her teacher Sokuzan, a Soto Zen priest. She lives in beautiful Northern Michigan with her husband, three children and a tribe of amazing people working together to create change.
Why Did You Start Zenvelope?
I started Zenvelope because I wanted to be more present in my own life. I was busy, suffering, distracting myself, and not giving 100% (in some cases not giving 42%) to my relationships. I turned to meditation and mindfulness to cope with my own crazy mind. My meditation teacher, Sokuzan, tells me, “Awareness is queen.” The more aware and present I am, the happier I feel.
For me, a big part of this was letting go of my phone. I was maybe slightly, kinda, sorta, probably not…most certainly yes – addicted to my phone. My device was the first thing I looked at when my eyes opened, the last thing to see before they closed. I missed moments of my three children’s tiny years (they are now 13, 9, and 7). So many moments of sitting on the couch instead of living the life right in front of me.
I started talking to coworkers, friends, my husband and children, other parents, and my students, and most of these people were feeling the same way. No one wanted to give their phones up – they are awesome, helpful and necessary. However, many wanted a more mindful relationship with their technology. A big part of starting Zenvelope was because we are role models for all those kiddos out there watching us look down and miss everything that they are engaged in.
Zenvelope started at a family game night. We were playing Clue, and three of the five of us were on a device. It was my best friend’s birthday, and there was wrapping paper in the corner of the room. I made everyone wrap their phones for the game. It was funny, and we made a silly rule that the first to unwrap had to clean up. A few days later, I was meeting with a consulting client, and they asked me why they should hire me to help bring mindfulness to their employees by asking me to tell a story of how I create a mindful environment at home. I told that story, and when the company called back to hire me, they asked if I could bring wrapping paper to my consulting time with them. They wanted to start using this strategy at their morning meetings. That night, I had a dream about the name, product, and an amazing feeling of helping people- organizations, families, couples, and schools- to change their interactions with technology.
What if I Don’t Use My Phone That Much?
A recent article states that we use our phones twice as much as we think we do (6-10 hours a day). The point is not to not use your phone, it’s to be mindful of how, when, where, and why we are using them so we do not become addicted to them. Sometimes it might be the people around us who are struggling with how much we are using our phones, especially children.
Constant Contact With Our Phones Disrupts Productivity, Focus, and Can Cause Us to Be Unhappy.
We are looking at our phone in 30-second bursts 6-10 hours a day, this habitual reaction to our devices can stop our creative flow and focus. Studies show that constant multi-tasking causes us to release hormones and cortisol, keeping us in a state of stress (fight or flight mode). This causes our overall happiness level to decrease and can lead to decreased short-term memory. New studies show that just having our phone in our sight can disrupt our focus and awareness.
Using Our Phones While Driving is Dangerous.
How many times have you pulled alongside a person you thought must be having a heart attack to find them texting while driving? Do you worry about your children texting and driving, if so the Zenvelope is a perfect way to enforce a rule to use the car – if the car is in motion your phone is in your Zenvelope! Studies show that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. The Zenvelope is a perfect solution. Place your phone in your Zenvelope before taking off (you can even still use your GPS , music and charger). Your Zenvelope reminds you that you can wait or pull over to use your device so that you or one of your loved ones does not become a victim of distracted driving.
Constant Phone Use Can Lead to a Decrease in Relationship Satisfaction.
From parenting to romantic relationships, our cell phones are not increasing our interpersonal satisfaction. In fact, we now know they are hurting our communication, listening skills, quality time, intimacy, and family bonding. Use your Zenvelope to focus on the person in front of you. Make the commitment to place your phone in the Zenvelope the next time you spend time with your family, friends, or co-workers.
Where Would You Like to See Zenvelope Go in the Future?
Everyone will have a Zenvelope. Everyone will use our partner company’s RealiZd app to gain powerful feedback about your tech time. It will be a law to use it while driving. Schools will have them in every classroom. Organizations will communicate face-to-face instead of e-mailing the person in the cubicle next to them. Children will learn that our phones are a tool and not a part of us. The world will be a better place.
What Is the Product?
How is this different than a case?
This is a mindfulness tool. It’s not meant to be a traditional cell phone case. It’s a tool to enclose your technology so you’re not tethered to it.
What if there is an emergency and I need my phone?
Your phone can always be close by. You can keep it near your bed before you sleep. You can still hear it, and even set special ring tones for important people so you know when you need to take a call,
I want my phone, I don’t feel distracted by it…
If you don’t feel you’re distracted, that’s totally okay. Here are a few facts for you to consider though. Did you know that most people use their phones 6-10 hours per day? When you disassociate from your phone and the distractions, you can increase your memory, creativity, and motivation. Click here to take a quick quiz to see how you rank on being distracted by your phone. At Zenvelope, we are not anti-phone, in fact we all have phones! We just want to be in control and aware of how much of our precious time we’re spending on them.
Why Is This Important?
Life is amazing – the world is beautiful – and people are missing it by seeing the world through their devices. Devices and technology are amazing, but they’re lenses, and they don’t capture life as sweetly and completely as being engaged directly. Constantly engaging with a device instead of engaging life directly is affecting our quality of life. We’re aiming to give you more control to keep technology in your life, but to manage it in a healthy way.
The red circle in the middle of the Zenvelope logo is symbolic of the power button on our devices. The black circles are called an Enso; a sacred symbol in the Zen tradition. The meaning of the two symbols that combine to make the word Enso translate to – Circle of Togetherness.