I wonder if others feel that way too. I see so many who are using smartphones and iPads – not being fully present to the person sitting across the restaurant table or living room – not really in the ‘here and now’ with their minds in another time and place. I’ve done it myself.
I remember when I was little trying to tell my Mom details of my latest adventure outside. She was baking chocolate chip cookies, checking on the roast in the oven and finishing up the fried okra. She was so good at multi-tasking, but I wanted her undivided attention. She made every effort to listen, but her mind was on several other tasks. I’ve done the same thing myself with my kids.
We’ve been programmed to multi-task and are darn proud of doing so. But I’ve learned in recent years that’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Multi-tasking can cause stress and damage relationships because we’re not in the present moment. It’s hard to be in the present moment because we actually have to…well, be present. It seems now we need to be programmed to “be present,” and that is what I love about Mindfulness. It has taught me to be in the present moment and to live on purpose rather than sleepwalking through life by not remembering whether I took my medication, or turned off the burner, or called my sisters.
A friend told me once that she loved their vacation at the ocean. She said she remembered the feeling of being there and at the time said “I want to come back here again,” thinking more of her return than being in the present moment. I’ve done the same thing – planning next year’s vacation while on the current vacation.
But I’m learning to be in the present moment, enjoying every minute, rather than planning for next year’s Christmas, or the next vacation or the next family visit. Living on purpose: putting down the smartphone, paying attention, being present, truly listening, smelling the lit candles, seeing the twinkling lights on the tree, hearing the music, feeling the softness of our fur babies. That’s how I want to end 2020 and start 2021: being present for every moment and living on purpose.
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SUE'S GIFT BLOG
Sherry Martin is the Patient Services Director for Sue's Gift, a licensed clinical social worker with over thirty years of experience in the field of oncology social work, and author of the book, Beginning Again: Tools for the Journey through Grief: A Step-by-Step Guide for Facilitators of a Grief Support Group. Sherry lives with her husband in Woodland Park, Colorado.
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