Mindful awareness

Monday, September 6, 2010

Moving and attention

Moving without attending to what we are doing can result in anything from vehicular homicide to a stubbed toe to a broken phone. We all have done three things at once without really paying attention to any of them - carrying too much upstairs to save a trip, I thought I was being efficient in making the most out of a trip up the stairs. Rather than efficiency, however, I end up dropping the smart phone in my hand and smashing its monitor. Not only have I not saved time, but now I'll need to have the phone repaired or replaced and I actually lose time in inconvenience while I don't have my phone. Another example - I wonder how much time I've really saved by sorting and reading the mail while something is on the stove only to burn whatever I wasn't watching closely and need to start the cooking over again. And certainly, no time is saved walking while we are doing three other things only to fall and injure a leg and end up in the emergency room waiting for x-rays.

The opportunity to practice mindfulness presents itself many times a day. Today as I juggled too many things in two arms I recognized that I was headed for disaster. I set things down, took a few deep breaths, picked up half of the items, and committed myself to two loads up and down the steps. Not only did I avert disaster, but I achieved what I needed to do with a more relaxed outlook. The task took only a couple of extra minutes but I felt more leisurely than the rushed feel of being overloaded.  

Now, to remember next time I feel overwhelmed to: Stop - Breathe - Attend to one thing at a time.

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