Multitasking, Mindfulness, and Meditation
Well, so much for me posting this one from the archives “tomorrow,” as promised on Feb. 18. Obviously, things continue at a breakneck pace, and I will admit that I am multitasking — the bane of the mindful existence — to the point that my head is spinning most of the time, to the point where I’m forgetting things because there are way too many “things” piling up higher and higher. Precisely because of my penchant for doing too many things at once and my love of the mindfulness practice, this is quite possibly my favorite chapter in Cravings.
Mindfulness. Ahhhh…just saying the word makes my shoulders relax and my breathing expand. I love it because I know it works, BUT, that doesn’t mean I always make the time and space for it. I am the queen of multitasking, something I used to think was a good thing. Not so. Multitasking distracts us and makes us feel like we’re doing so much but, really, we are usually half doing a couple of things. I can’t listen to my daughter and scroll through Facebook. I might think I can do that, but she’s going to notice I’m not really there, even if I don’t. I can’t eat dinner and answer emails. Well, I can, but chances are I’ll finish the meal without ever really tasting it.
Multitasking is one of the biggest enemies of inner peace. It robs us of our balance and tricks us into thinking it’s the way to get more done or be more productive and prove we’re working hard enough to whomever it is we think we need to prove something — bosses, coworkers, friends, partner, parents, children, maybe even complete strangers. If we let our worth hang on other people’s opinions, we’re going to make ourselves crazy trying to be everything to everyone. So the challenge is to stop worrying about other people’s opinions and start paying attention to the still, small voice trying to be heard in the silence of your heart. To do that, you have to be mindful and prayerful and quiet. That’s the starting point. And the end point. And every point in between. Mindfulness always, or as often as possible. Just keep coming back to where you are right now without worrying about what’s coming next. It’s not easy to do, especially when many of us have jobs and home lives that keep us in full-time stress mode. Just keep starting over. Eventually it will become comfortable, maybe even “normal.”
If you can’t figure out how to make this mindfulness thing work in daily life, start small. With a cup of tea or a piece of chocolate or a quiet lunch eaten alone without distractions. We’re seven weeks in, so I know you know the drill, but in case you want a reminder, I’ll re-post the mealtime meditation bookmarks. Click HERE for the set of two bookmarks. And, if you missed this the first time around, here’s one of my previous blog posts on the topic: Mindfulness: It’s not just for Buddhists.
Keep in mind that mindfulness isn’t limited to mealtime, to be sure. Try it out when you’re driving to work, when you’re waiting in the car line outside school, when you’re on hold with customer service. Breathe, be present in that moment, and just do that one thing you need to do, not the 12 things everyone else wants you do to. Breathe. Exhale…
Here’s some musical inspiration to go with our theme of the week: “Exhale” by Plumb.
Oh God We breathe in your grace
We breathe in your grace
Oh God we do not exist for us
But to share Your grace and love