When did you last stand in a queue and not look at your phone? How often have you used your little ones’ precious nap times as a chance to tackle the washing pile, even though you are bone tired and twitching with caffeine?
We celebrate multitasking as if it were a triumph. It may seem like a mandatory skill at times with small children and chaotic lives but is it really helping us?
In the time it takes for a document to download on my lap top I sometimes start diving into a new job on my ‘to do’ list. Then I catch myself and wonder why on earth I am propelling myself through the day at break neck speed?
Sure, there is a massive amount of stuff to do in family life. Parents juggle like grade A clowns and sometimes the joke is on us. We wear ‘busyness’ as a badge of honour. I often find myself responding to ‘Hello, how are you?’ with ‘Oh you know, always busy…’ and a roll of the eye. But is that really something that is forced upon me?
When I allow myself the time to reflect on this it can be a bit of an eye opener. We are often so caught up in ‘doing’ that we forget who we are. We start to believe that our identity is tied up in the ‘doing’ stuff and that we’re living in a linear way, with a destination in mind. But until we get to the destination, is it just a means to an end? When you sit in a coffee shop or wait in a supermarket queue, see how many furtive glances revert to the mini screen in shoppers’ hand. Smartphones are great for keeping us connected, but how smart are they at helping us to reconnect with ourselves?
Because when you get to the nitty gritty, we’re not that comfortable with simply ‘being’. We think we might miss a trick, lose our way, fall short somehow or get lost in the emptiness of silence. What if embracing those opportunities (no matter how small) actually meant resting in stillness to take us out of the messy drama of living and into a sanctuary of innate wellbeing? What if the distractions ‘out there’ are just a way of turning our heads and leading us back into busy or anxious thinking, leaping from thought to thought seamlessly like the proverbial ‘monkey mind’?
When we get busy we fall into thinking that peace of mind and wellbeing come after the ‘doing’, like a child’s well-earned treat for good behaviour.
When you fall out of linear time and into the present you see that now is all there ever is and it’s OK to sit back, put down your phone, step back from your thinking and breathe in this moment.
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