One of the biggest challenges for you may be staying in the moment. The phone is ringing, you get a text, or someone is asking you a question all while you are doing some paperwork, making a meal, or driving your car. There may be consequences of jumping around and responding to everything. Perhaps nothing gets done well or you are more stressed and perhaps agitated after repeated interruptions. The paperwork may have some errors or the meal may be missing a key ingredient or you have doubled the amount of something. While driving you might miss your exit or something more serious as you are responding to a call or a text.
One of the interesting and frustrating things I am observing in educational programs over the last year or so is that the attendees are sitting in the presentation, but some are doing paperwork, answering emails, texting and even reading books. In a program I did recently, there was no internet access in the building and it was refreshing. The world has changed regarding presence as a result of technology. While some of the changes are exciting and can be somewhat addictive, consider how it has impacted your current lifestyle choices. What matters to you? Is it the next text message or enjoying the moments with someone who is important to you?
Think about the message you are sending by your body language and choices. You are spending time with a friend and then you start reading and responding to text messages or answering the phone and continuing that conversation while having lunch together. What does that say about how you value your time with that person? Certainly there are emergency or critical messages that are sometimes necessary but not always. One friend recently took her teenage son shopping for clothes and he was actively engaged in texting. She is great at setting boundaries and determined to teach her son some guidelines so she told him to put his phone away while shopping and he did. She not only wanted him to be respectful but to share the experience with him. Not too many years from now he will be off to college and those little memories are part of what she values.
In a recent interview Cindy Crawford talked about her life goal in life was not to be happy but to be present. Her quotation “You cannot multitask presence” says volumes. I would like to put it on a tee shirt or make it a bumper sticker. It gives you something to think about. This morning I read in the paper that a patient of mine passed away. She was one of the most courageous women I have ever met. They celebrated her 90th birthday recently with an open house and I planned to go but was recovering from the flu and did not think I should attend. Thankfully I saw her a month later and I told her how sorry I was to miss the event and I meant it. When she got her pictures I was going to visit her so she could share them with me. It makes me sad that we did not have that next moment together but I hold on to the last conversation we shared and how I was able to tell her how much I appreciated the woman she was despite a lot of adversity. Life is unpredictable and enjoying the present moment may be more meaningful than you realize at the time.
TO DO THIS WEEK: Just observe your patterns. Be present and enjoy the festivities of the upcoming 4th of July week with friends and family. Do not multitask. Give someone your full attention, interact, converse, and have some laughs. Put all other things aside.
“Because life is a living, breathing work of art, you are a painting as you go. Be a masterpiece. Drink in life. Laugh too loud. Compliment others constantly.” Nicole Johnson