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Living in the Moment


This post ties into my earlier post Two Small Steps.  The second goal I want to work on this year is to live more fully in the present.  I'm not referring to dwelling on the past or daydreaming about the future, but rather focusing on where I am at any given moment, what I'm doing, and why.  Also, who I am interacting with and how. 

Staying focused has always been a monumental challenge for me. As a child I was a daydreamer whose mind often drifted out the windows of the classroom. As an adult I struggle to stay on task, finding my mind flitting from one thing to the next until I force it to settle in and pay attention.  The same goes when working around the house... you know the story... you go to the bedroom to get your shoes... oh the bed needs making... as you start that, you see a sock lying on the floor and suddenly you are sorting the laundry basket. Heading to the laundry room you notice the soap supply is low and before you even start the washer you've headed off to make a grocery list... and in a few short minutes time you've completely forgotten about retrieving your shoes.

Problems staying in the moment don't occur just when I'm by myself, even more importantly they surface when I am socializing and interacting with others.  My beloved husband and I will be watching a tv program that we both enjoy. But I'm not good at just sitting with empty hands, so before long I have scooted over my laptop table to check out Facebook or switched on my iPhone to see who has played their turn in Words With Friends.  Before long he is prompting me to look up at something important in the show or to read text that is appearing on the screen.  Then I feel bad and realize I have only been half-present in sharing the moment, I've allowed my mind to wonder off and play, and in doing so missed not only the full content of a good program, but I also missed out on sharing quality time with my husband.

What is this need to be busy all the time?  Why  is it so hard for me to just relax and be present, to take in what is happening around me without wandering away?  I know that my mind goes at full tilt, there are always many thoughts swirling, just as in the illustration above.  When I'm talking about one thing, I'm often thinking several steps ahead, and sometimes leave out important details in the communication because of it.  Even at night the hamsters in my head continue to run in the wheel.

This year I really want to work on being present... on living in the moment. Otherwise I'm missing out on half my life because I'm off wandering in the clouds.  I'm missing out on getting tasks accomplished and more importantly, I'm missing out on  precious moments that I am able to spend with the people I care about and love.  When I am with them I want them to feel that I am there, fully connected.

I know that some of my behaviors are more compulsive routines than anything.  If my hands are free and the iPhone is in reach, I am going to pick it up and see what's new. If the laptop is at hand I'm going to flip it open. Obviously then, I need to  move these items out of reach and maybe out of sight for  periods of time.  If I can do it at work, I can do it at home too. How often does one really need to check their Facebook?  I have a friend who has challenged herself to review it only once in the morning and evening.  Not a bad plan.  Would I go thru withdrawls? :-)

When it comes to completing projects, I need to excercise my mental ability to resist the temptation to flit to other items, and train myself to stay more focused on the task at hand.  Perhaps I can reward myself for completing something quickly and directly until it becomes more of a habit.

When it comes to people, I need to focus on them, on my love for them, and on my interest in them.  I need to pay attention to their words, their faces, their gestures... what they are saying and what they are trying to convey.  I want them to feel that they are important to me - because they are!

Starting today I am going to work harder at staying in the moment.  This way I can be ever vigilant for opportunities to make a difference, for ways to add a bit of brightness to the world. Rather than wander thru life aimlessly, I am going to love myself enough to move purposefully in the direction of the person I want to become... at one with the world, and at peace with myself.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful Josie. I too suffer from distractidis -- shiny object syndrome, I call it -- but it's of the digital nature.

    I'll focus with you and together we can create a world of difference.

    Hugs

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  2. I love the "shiny object syndrome" label for this, Louise, it so accurately describes how my mind flits. It reminds me of how easily my cats can be distracted from whatever they are doing by waving a feather, or rolling a ball, or putting out a bit of catnip! :-) I suffer from digital distraction too. I'm pretty sure I could do just fine on a deserted island if I had my laptop and satellite internet service!! :-)

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  3. Hi Josie, I found you as I searched for an image of "swirling thoughts." The painting caught my eye. Absolutely perfect, natural time that my thoughts transsect with yours, as I seek an image to compliment a recent blog post called 'Nurse Spin.' It's more a process piece for me. The slogging through the piles of experiences of 40 years in my head like trying to clean out a closet.- Ahh, the the distracted thinking/behavior escalates. I sometimes think I have the attention span of gnat, but that is silly since I can waste mindless hours with FB or word games. Restricting easy access to electronics sounds like a good start, but for me it's more about deciding and limiting the deadine. Thanks for your post and attention. Michele SwingSetStories.com

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    1. Hello Michele! I'm delighted that the illustration from Google Images that I chose for this piece caught your attention and led you to drop by! I have not fared well since this post with limiting my electronic access, I think it's because I so enjoy the interaction with the many wonderful folks I am in contact with this way... friendships at my fingertips! :-) I'm heading over to check out your blog!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)