Tara Brach often talks about the commentary in our minds that is a constant presence as we go about our daily lives…8 days into the 3310 challenge this commentary has moved from background noise to overwhelming white noise. I am a mum, wife, friend, daughter, professional and a “lady start up” who also happens to be packing up a house and planning a one year trip with our family of 5. I feel the constant urge to be “productive” and often in doing so this urge equals moving away from the present moment. This constant pull to be researching, googling, messaging, calling, checking up, selling … it is exhausting and I’m tired. My hope is by becoming more mindful and present I can spend more time looking outward.
This constant pull to be researching, googling, messaging, calling, checking up, selling … it is exhausting and I’m tired.
This is what I’ve learnt so far…
1. It helps to have a supportive husband/partner/friend that will call you out on your phone use. There is nothing quite like having to justify why you needed to answer a message just right at that moment to magnify the distraction so that you can weigh up its true importance. I’m in the midst of starting a business with 3 friends scattered across Victoria, we are all Mums and all work part time, this has resulted in sporadic fits and bursts of messages and noise throughout the day. I can justify this to myself as it is for “work” and herein lies the problem with our smart phones. Which leads us to the next point;
2. We are never offline anymore. Work does not finish when we walk out the door. We are always on call…unless we put boundaries in to protect our time, ourselves and our families. Adam and I have decided that if I do need to be in contact regarding my business due to a decision needing to be made – that I announce it and remove myself from our family space ” I need to focus on this for the moment. I will be back when it’s done.” This simple action will help me to move from being physically present and distracted to wholly focused on the task at hand.
Like tidying your home..things seem to be getting more messy first…
3. You can justify (almost) anything as being productive however it is harder if you set some boundaries;
- Is it more important than what I am doing right now?
- Is it time critical?
- Can I do this more mindfully?
4. Like tidying your home..things seem to be getting more messy first: I am taking heart in the fact that the first step to becoming more mindful is noticing and being aware of the thoughts passing through your mind, the action of picking up my phone, of looking for a message/an email, of thinking I should be doing: calling/messaging/texting/writing /researching… This is all part of the process. You cannot become more mindful of your actions without first noticing them and wanting to change them.
So what steps can I take now to help me refocus and continue with the 25 days left of this 3310 challenge?
– Begin the day with a 10 minute meditation
– Have a journal open on the desk or kitchen bench for me to jot down ideas, jobs, research tasks that can be done later
– Set aside time for me: be it to exercise, work, connect with friends
– Be honest with myself…always. Is this time critical, why am I drawn to do this right now? Tara Brach uses an acronym RAIN – Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Nuture. In short, we are not perfect and we never will be, we are human and we will always have thoughts that happen to not always be helpful or productive and that is OK. What is important is to be able to recognise the triggers and allow the emotion/need to play out. I am hoping that over these 33 days I will be able to notice what leads me to my phone and put a stop gap in place!
– Maybe even just a mindful breath!
Anyone have any tips, strategies, wisdom they can share with me?