I have touched on this countless times, but I’ll say it again. We are a bunch of busy people. We are a society of go-getters, and we are a people for whom enough is never enough. We work long hours, pursue thousands of goals at once, and are forever multi-tasking in the hopes of checking one more thing off our to-do list before tomorrow starts. But what if tomorrow doesn’t show up? What if tomorrow decides it’s just not happening? We will be left with only today. And if we’ve spent today thinking about tomorrow, then we’ve missed it. And we’ll never get it back.
Are you dizzy yet?
I received a wonderful link via email this week (a TED talk – Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes) about spending 10 minutes a day, doing nothing, being mindful, and letting yourself refresh. I watched it twice, from start to finish. And it didn’t take long for me to see the connection and apply this idea of mindfulness on a broader scope in my life. It occurred to me that mindfulness, not only in meditation, is really key.
I am one of those busy people I talked about, earlier. Professionally, my work is wonderful. I love it and I’m passionate about it. But it is crazy-busy and I run from morning until night, often putting in hours at home. I am also fortunate to be teaching technical writing online – this eats up the evenings that I have left over after work ends. I’m also working on my Harperness Project, which demands time because I’m working on my overall health (newsflash – it takes time and effort to be healthy!) In the midst of all of this, I always make a point to make time for my most important focuses: my husband and cat, my friends, and my family.
Stepping back, I can clearly see that I race through most of my days, working hard to finish things today so that tomorrow is palatable.
I, too, am missing the point.
Today is where I need to be.
When it’s today – I need to be in today. I need to see today. Enjoy today. Focus on today.
I need to work on being mindful of where I am, when I’m there.
Put my whole self into the moment of what I’m doing, at that particular time and not doing 101 things all at once.
Do what I am doing, when I am doing it.
I think trying to be mindful also fits in well with my Harperness Project, in the mental category. I did a little experiment this past week. When I was working – that’s all I did. When I was exercising – that is where my mind was. As I made suppers, even if it was a simple salad, I focused on what I was creating and why. When I was sitting with my husband or playing with my cat, that’s all I was thinking about. When I was marking and interacting with the students in my course, I focused 100% of my attention for the time it took on the task at hand.
Although I can honestly say that last week was one of the busiest weeks that I can personally recall, for some time, I can also say that I accomplished all of my to-dos and had energy left over for the fun stuff. I even found I had more time (not less) when I simply focused, mindfully, on one task at a time.
Try it. Next time you are doing something, no matter what it is – be mindful. Be there. Be present. Enjoy what you are doing, when you are doing it, and see how centered it makes you feel.