Mindfulness and Multi-tasking

I wonder if you can use mindfulness and multi-tasking in the same sentance, or at the same time.

I thought I was a brilliant multi-tasker when I was listening to audiobooks while surfing on the web; maybe at first, but then I realized I had to keep backing up the audiobook to get the parts I missed.  I found myself daydreaming or planning my next blog post or shopping list while doing other mundane tasks, like taking care of the rabbits.

Then, the other day, with an armload of empty rabbit water bottles, I missed a step down from the bunny porch, and hit the floor hard, twisting and spraining my foot in the process. What was I thinking about? Couldn’t tell you now, but it must have been important at the time.   What I wasn’t doing was paying attention to what I was doing in the moment, not noticing where my feet were.  I certainly wasn’t being spiritual, taking joy in the everyday tasks, or even being present for what I was doing.  Lesson learned, I commit to being present where I am in the moment, and to be grateful for even the most mundane of tasks.

When I was in graduate school, one of the men in my class was, still is, a Tibetian monk. Just listening to him speak, or sitting near him was a calming experiencel. I remember him sharing that even for a monk, remembering to be mindful, slow and careful is challenging in New York City. So easy to get caught up in the moment and movement, and to forget what is important. Isn’t that espeically so with the so called mundane or daily tasks? Hurry up and get it done so that I can….can whatever else I really want to do.

I heard a story on NPR about teens who are multitasking with computer, email, texting and maybe phone at the same time. All those opportunities are there, but can you really do them all at the same time? Exactly at the same time?

So today’s suggestion is to be present in the moment, to focus on what you are doing and clear the other things from your mind.  Finishing what you are doing is the goal before you start something else. And maybe redefine finishing. When I am sitting down to write and article, or weave at my loom, finishing may mean focusing on what I am doing for whatever the allotted time is. I may not finish that 15 foot rag rug runner before I get up from the loom, but I will have enjoyed the hour or so that I have sat at the loom, coming away feeling inspired and refreshed.

To your mental wellness!

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