Monday, 31 December 2012

Week 1: Taking the plunge … 52 weeks of now

I sit down to check my emails. But why do just one thing? Surely I can do more … So I open another few windows – Facebook,, net banking, my university chat board, Pinterest. For the next few minutes (or an hour, who's counting?) I flick back and forth between these windows, opening an email, catching up on the news of my near and distant friends, perusing the real estate market, checking in on my finances, 'pinning' another recipe I'm unlikely to make.

The phone rings and I pick it up. Do I turn away from the computer? Nope, I keep flicking between the open pages on the screen in front of me. While I'm at it, I make a start on hanging the washing.

Gee, I'm so clever at this multitasking business. 

What a shame that when I hang up the phone and turn the computer off, I have little idea of what I spent the morning doing. And who was that on the phone? Did I just promise to meet up with someone or bring a cake to dinner? I have no idea. Luckily, the hung washing is proof that something productive happened recently.

There's a buzzing in my veins that goes along with this almost manic desire to do everything all at once. Life is short (and the time that baby naps for is shorter); there's so much to fit in, there's simply no time to take my time.

Nuh-uh, hold on a second. That's just silly. Come on, Erica, what about this 'mindfullness' bizzo you harp on about in your yoga classes all the time? Isn't that how you want to live your life? Oh yeah, you're right. So, what am I doing?

This 'busy-ness' and urge to do it all has a vice grip on me. Even though I 'know' what I want and what I 'should' be doing to live a more mindful life, the pull of squeezing in just one more thing is like a drug. Even as I've sat writing this post, I've also checked on movie times, had a quick look at Facebook and kind of mindlessly flicked between my open windows, just checking what I had there.

Clearly there's a problem here. What I want (to live mindfully) and what I'm doing (living in a foggy haze of inattention) do not match. Time to make a change. Welcome to my journey. One year: fifty-two weeks, 365 days, of making a conscious, concerted effort to live mindfully. 

Why? Because when I'm with my son, my husband, my family and friends, I want to really be with them. I want to give them my full attention, not just the fraction I can spare for them while I fiddle on my phone and daydream about dinner. When I sit down to read or write or while I'm making dinner or a cake, I want to enjoy it; not be torn away by an irritating desire to go check if I missed any text messages.

I miss really seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling life. I want that back.

Why blog about it? Well, I'm going to hazard a guess that I'm not the only one feeling pressured and overwhelmed by the busy-ness of life. Hopefully my journey will be shared. Plus, I'm making a commitment – and that commitment will keep me accountable. I don't promise or expect to always get it right. I'm not striving for perfection. The journey is just as important as any end result (and is there really an end, anyway?).

I'm going to try to keep it simple … not a wholesale change from mindless to mindful, but rather just a little something each week.

Week 1: When I turn on the computer, I'm going to approach it with mindfulness. No more flicking, just focusing on one page at a time. Here I go …. !