Recently I was treated to a massage. It was wonderful and relaxing, and also very hard!
My mind kept wandering. I was in a peaceful, relaxing environment and I kept thinking about things that needed to be done, conversations that need to happen, and plans for the future (albeit just dinner). I struggled to be fully present and fully unwind. At one stage the treatment therapist had to gently shake my arm to try to get me to relax.
I feel like I have been in the habit of multitasking for so long now, that I can no longer focus on just one thing. I load the washing while changing the beds and cleaning the bathroom. I read on my iPad, while I watch TV. I wash dishes, while I prepare and serve the girls dinner, and I talk to my mum on the phone. As I type this I have five other tabs open on my web browser.
I know multitasking is sometimes useful, and as a mother, often a necessity. But I have a feeling if I can’t actually turn off the multitasking part of my brain I might possibly have a problem here (but while you think on that let me just close those five other tabs!)
I love this photo of me. I am 4 and a half. I keep it on my pin-up board in my study. Where I see it every time I write.
I love it. I love the innocence of this little girl’s eyes, the sense of fun and the promise.
I often look at this little girl and try to remember what she was like. What was I playing when my Aunty interrupted me for this photo? Was I in a dream world by myself, or had I created an intricate game for my siblings to be involved? Or had I just learned a fresh new skill and come to tell my family about it?
What I do think is that little girl was present, in her surroundings, with her family, with her sense of fun.
I look at her every day, and I am inspired and challenged and overwhelmed, all at the same time.
So much of the present that I miss, because I am trying to do too many things at once. So much fun and laughter that I forget to have.
My eldest daughter is 4 and a half right now. And, when I try to interrupt my girls when they are in the middle of something, it takes a while. Because they are present. They are totally involved in what they are doing. They are not distracted by thoughts of future plans, or past mistakes. They just live in the moment.
So I am looking at my girls, and this photo of 4-year-old me and I am resolved to try to be present again. Maybe things will happen slower, maybe it means only having one browser tab open at a time, but I have a feeling the benefits will be worth it.