On the walk across the golf course to school this morning, my nine year-old daughter asked: “Mum, why do you meditate?”
My reply: “Well, it makes me more peaceful and calm. Also, it helps me to know myself better and become clearer about how I want to live my life, rather than just rushing around all day focused on what I have to do”.
“Hmmm” she said. “I’m already peaceful, sorta, well not really, but I’m happy (looking up at me with a funny grin).”
We had a little giggle at this because ‘peaceful’ is not a word either of us would often associate with this high energy, singing and dancing, extroverted, firecracker of a little girl. But yes, she is mostly a pretty happy child.
And I guess, for the most part, I’m a pretty happy adult. It’s just that since leaving childhood, I seem to have developed some not so helpful habits when it comes to being present, mindful, conscious and focused each day.
One of these is multi-tasking. Are you aware of how often in your day you are trying to do more than one thing at a time? Also, are you aware of how sometimes doing more than one thing at a time undermines your enjoyment of both activities?
In my assessment, some multi-tasking works and some doesn’t. It’s all a matter of being aware of how mindful you feel when combining activities and how you feel at the end of each day when you do it a lot.
For example, this morning I enjoyed listening to Dee Walllace on Masterworks Healing as I folded and hung washing indoors. This type of multi-tasking feels fine to me as I can remain calm and present when I do it.
A not so healthy habit I recently broke was reading while eating. When I did this, I found my posture became hunched, my abdomen was tense and I wasn’t really conscious of what I was putting in my mouth. I think conversing while eating is fine (my husband is always telling me off for talking with my mouth full). Reading feels different I think because it takes your mind away from the present moment and distracts you from enjoying the food. But hey, maybe that’s just me.
The bottom line is, when we try to do too much, we feel stressed and the notion that we are more productive the more balls we can juggle through our day, can actually be a bit of an illusion. Slowing everything down allows us to see that a happy life is not about getting through the washing so we can do something more fun or about eating breakfast while reading a magazine because we’ve killed two birds with one stone (but probably enjoyed neither).
This is what I know about myself: I can’t listen to an interview and write emails or a blog simultaneously. I can’t meditate and compile a shopping list simultaneously and I can’t truly taste my morning cup of tea unless I sit down to drink it instead of sipping it while standing at the kitchen bench filling lunch boxes.
What multi-tasking habits would you like to break? I love to hear from you…