Do you remember the last meal you ate? Were you watching TV or scrolling through your phone? Were you with a person having a conversation? Do you remember what the food tasted like? Was it good? was the flavor something out of this world or just meh?
O.K. do you remember the last conversation you had with someone? your spouse? your child? your friend? Do you remember how they looked? what their voice sounded like? Did they sound sad, happy? do you even remember what the conversation was about.
Do you pull up to your workplace or your house or wherever you may be going and discover you don’t remember anything about the drive. You’re secretly thinking wow I hope I wasn’t speeding or I hope I didn’t run a stop light. Or worse.
We have all been guilty of not being mindful. In this day and time with technology all around us I think we are getting worse at being mindful of what we are doing. Even the good stuff. Information overload is something we deal with constantly. Sometimes when I am at work taking a work call I find myself closing my eyes so that I can focus on the person I am talking to. If I don’t I find myself looking at my computer screen, or my phone, listening to what is going on in the background around me. I know that when I am doing this I am not totally focusing on what is going on with that phone call. The person that I am talking to deserves my attention.
A few years ago when I was doing some travel shows I noticed this lack of focus had gotten particularly bad. The shows were an opportunity for you to sell your location or attraction to potential clients. You had about five minutes to sit down at a booth with a prospective client and give them your main selling points. The booths were set up in rows and you sat at their booth across the table from the potential buyer. In the meantime there was still the traffic of people walking behind you. It was a bit distracting. But what I noticed the last few times I did a show, was that the buyer instead of being focused on what I had to say, and heck I don’t think it was that boring, was constantly watching what was going on in the isle behind me. Their eyes would wander from mine to the people behind me. You would have thought Jason Momoa was walking by. Maybe something more interesting was going on in that conversation by those other people. I started having less and less confidence in the shows. they were expensive and I didn’t feel I was getting what I needed to get from them.
Multitasking is the evil twin of mindfulness. We are all trying to get more and more done so we’re on our phone while we’re watching TV, watching a ballgame, while trying to listen to the person in front of us talking to us.
Being mindful takes practice. Start with being mindful when you eat. This will not count when you rush through drive through and eat on your way home or on your way to the ball field or to your next stop. Because then you are already multitasking. We all do it. Sometimes we have to do it if we want to eat at all. Life gets in the way and you do what you have to do. I do it all the time. But start slow and practice and see if you don’t get more out of what you are doing.
I don’t have children but I know that I look back on when my nieces and nephews were young and I was spending time with them. I wish I had given them more of my attention and enjoyed everything they had to say and do. I wish I had listened to my mom and dad and grandparents when they told family stories that I thought I had heard a hundred times and couldn’t stand to hear one more time.
Multitasking causes stress. You may think you are getting more done but you are actually not getting anything completely finished because your mind is going in so many different directions.
As I said being mindful takes practice so start slow. The next time you are doing laundry feel the clothes in your hands, feel the fabric, notice the warmth if the clothes just came out of the dryer. When you are eating notice the texture and the flavor of the food. When you are talking to someone, and this is something I learned from a good friend a few years ago, look that person directly in the eye, listen to their voice, hear what they are saying. So many times what someone is truly telling you is in their eyes, the sound and range of their voice or the expression on their face. If you are looking at your phone or something else going on around you, you just might miss something very important.
So yes I think mindfulness is a lost art. We are only here once so pay attention!!!
I took this picture one morning on my way to work. I looked over my shoulder while driving down the road and saw this scene and had to turn around and go back to get it. I was late for work but it was totally worth it to me.
Love your day your way