I feel that I’m losing the ability to focus and be still.
I’ve noticed recently that I’ve got into the habit of over-multitasking. Once upon a time I would sometimes read a book while listening to some music, or perhaps clean my room while the television was on, but usually I would do just one thing. If I was on the computer, then I was using a single program or visiting a single site. If I was watching television, then I was focused purely on enjoying that program. These days I find it hard to merely sit and focus on something. Whenever I’m watching television (for instance) I feel that I should also be checking my email, having a snack, doing a puzzle or something. This weekend, I am going to drop multitasking. If I’m doing something then that is the only thing I am going to do. If it is a mindless task then I will try to sit with my own thoughts, mindfully and meditatively. If it is entertainment that is not entertaining enough without some other distraction, then I will cease and do something that is more interesting.
There are two aspects of my nature that are in constant conflict, which generally leaves me feeling inadequate: my urge to make a difference to others, and my disinclination to be proactive.
As I work on this Drop One, Add One experiment, I am learning that there are some things that I will only be able to incorporate into my life if I practise and they become habits. I’m also learning that there are some things about me that are essentially different from my idea of the Perfect Person. This means that I need to realign my ideals and goals with who I am rather than constantly trying to change my fundamental nature to fit with an idealise version of perfection. I am not yet sure which I should be doing to resolve this conflict – I suspect a bit of both.
I am not naturally someone who easily juggles many things or is ready to jump into new things. I like to have lots of time to rest and allow my body and mind to rejuvenate. I like to take time to think about a thing and be sure it is something I will have the interest and the physical and mental stamina to persist at. Many things that I would like to do to help others tend to require either a sustained effort or for me to go far out of my comfort zone (not something I do lightly, I am not someone who usually craves new experiences). Of course, this discrepancy between what I feel I should do and what I actually do leads me to feel that I have failed.
This weekend, I am going to focus on the smaller, everyday kind of difference. As I often struggle to follow through on my urges to do things for others, I’m going to try to keep it to a managable goal: I want to write to three specific friends. Two are overseas and I’ve neglected them for a few months. One deserves a proper, loong email and the other deserves a card and a letter. The third friend is one who lost her mother in August. She lives just far enough away that it’s difficult to just pop round for an afternoon to check that she’s ok or keep her company. It’s now more than a year and a half since my own mum died and I’ve spent most of that time quietly struggling. Whenever somebody made a special effort to see me, ring me or somehow do something because of Mum, it really helped me to get through. As the months passed I often felt that everybody else assumed I was getting on with my life and it felt lonely to be silently struggling away. There’s something so personal and special about receiving an physical letter. Even if it’s a fairly superficial letter, there’s something about real cards and letters that make you feel that somebody is with you.
For me, 2012 is the year of sunshine, daisies, birdies singing, holding hands and skipping through fields of wildflowers, petit gateaux, children laughing and inexpressibly adorable furry baby animals. This is about my own outook, but I would to be so sunshiney that it flows into all my actions and fills others with sunshiney goodness too.