I find it comical (and telling) that from the moment I decided to address the second lie from my post “A beautiful beat-down”, I have been nothing but distracted.
The Lie: ”Multi-tasking (read: living in two or more places/realities at once) is the productive and responsible way to live.”
This morning, I have definitely not been living in the present. Usually I am done writing by 10:00 in the morning because that is when my brain works best. For the past two hours I have been hopping up from my writing perch to clean this, arrange that, check my emails, answer quick texts, dust, take vitamins, comb out my hair, and read from 4 different books.
If I ever needed evidence that this is indeed an issue for me, I am golden.
In one of my books, Courage to Change, I went to the index and read all 7 entries under the topic “living in the present”. Because seriously, this is a real problem for me. A word used in one of the readings jumped out at me and defined my problem succinctly: Preoccupation.
I have a tendency, actually, more of a strong magnetic pull, toward dividing up my attention. I may look focused and gathered on the outside (though that’s debatable), but my insides are in a frenzy. I am thinking about what I did or didn’t do in the recent or often distant past or what I need to do in the future (today/next week/month/year).
More often than not, and this is embarrassing to admit, I am talking to people I care about while answering emails and texts to clients I don’t even know. When others talk I am frequently thinking about who I need to reach out to or what chores I need to do later. Sometimes I am stewing, worrying, fretting, regretting and fearfully anticipating things that may or may not happen in the future.
Need any more examples? I am sure you have a few of your own.
The lie I have believed about how I am just being efficient and smart by multi-tasking, both literally and in my head, has robbed me of many opportunities to be present with those I love and learn from what is happening in the here and now. It’s very difficult to hear God’s prompting or gentle nudging about how to handle the present when I am never there.
This week my husband and I have both seen some signs that our head is not with our hands, as they say. One day he got all the way to work without his lap top and as he was venting to me about it while I was at work (and after I gave him some very spiritual advice about being distracted in his brain and not living in the moment), I realized that I had left my purse at home.
We both are considering much about our new empty-nest life stage and as a result, our minds are preoccupied with a variety of dreams and opportunities and our excitement, fear and anticipation of all of them. Our kids also have a lot of changes happening, and as a parent, isn’t it my responsibility to worry about them and try to help them figure things out? When a situation disturbs me, with a coworker/friend/family member/enemy, do I chew on it over and over in my thoughts when my attention is needed elsewhere?
Do you ever go a day without really noticing what was happening around you because your attention is on everything but what’s right in front of you to enjoy?
Since one of my biggest distractions from the task at hand is social media, emails, texts, etc., I believe it is no coincidence that when I looked up verses in the Bible about living in the present, the New King James Version says:
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is not work or device 🙂 or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
Also, Colossians 3:23 implores us: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.”
In a nutshell, live “wholeheartedly”. Not simultaneously giving a quarter of your attention to your kids and a quarter to work and a quarter to your phone and a quarter to rehearsing an offense that happened earlier that day or 20 yrs. ago.
I know it’s a big ask and a somewhat daunting task. But if we, or should I say I, am not intentional about this, I run around (inside my skin) like the Tasmanian Devil. I stir up dust and create havoc but don’t actually land long enough to embrace the current treasure that is my one and only life.
It’s vital that I give myself permission to let Today be then focus of my life. Or better yet, let each tiny point be the focus of my life. Realistically, that’s my only option anyway.