A class attendee commented to me that my posts have been a bit slow of late, and I readily agreed. It's been a bit difficult lately to find inspiration both to blog and for class. I'm chalking it up to the winter doldrums - that time of winter when it becomes hard to do winter activities because the snow has gone to crap but it's too early to start spring activities like biking because, well, the roads are crap.
However, I have been cogitating on this recent post by Poep Sa (Dharma Teacher) Frank Jude Buccio on Mindfulness Yoga: the February Daily Practice - Right Communication.
Now, let me admit right off the bat I absolutely, completely, and utterly detest, anything that involves a 30 day or 40 day practice. Loathe might be a better description. This applies to "journaling" as well. This just a personal quirk and I acknowledge that.
But...this one intrigued me.
Poep Sa notes in one paragraph (full post linked to above):
First, let’s review Telephone Meditation. For many of us, the phone is at times a distraction, at times a task-master and oppressor. When the phone rings, many of us have been conditioned to jump and answer on the first ring. Yet, we often find ourselves distracted during the phone conversation when we do so, because we haven’t stopped or turned away from what we had been doing when the phone rang, and we aren’t really fully present to the person on the other end of the line. We are caught in a kind of in-between place, and whenever we have called someone who is in a similar situation, we can find ourselves irritated with the half-hearted attention we are getting from the person we called.
Oh so true! So true! What I find fascinating is, I can easily ignore the phone at home and - most of the time the computer as well. Work...eh...not a good place to be ignoring either, but I do find that I will be talking to someone and still be working on the computer, neither task nor person getting my full attention.
I also find I have a tendency to "Ping". By this I mean I will - much like a ping-pong ball - bounce from thing to thing. E-mail alert! I ping over to read it, start to answer, then Ping! I bounce back to what I was working on before...Ping! I forgot I wanted to finish this task over here...Ping! Well, you get the idea. Nothing is really getting my complete attention for very long and I'm very fragmented in my tasks. Everything still gets done, but, it's...fragmented. I have grown tired of being so easily distracted.
Poep Sa goes on to recommend:
So, next time the phone rings, stop what you are doing, and take a breath or two or three, depending on how slowly you breathe. Just stop, breathe in, breathe out, mindfully pick up the phone and answer. You will be offering your full presence to whomever has called. You will have stopped being a slave to the phone.
The practice is similar whenever we hear our phone signal that we’ve received a text message, or when our computer ‘pings’ the arrival of an e-mail. Stop what you’re doing, take three breaths and then read the message or e-mail. Again, you will be more fully present, undistracted, and free.
So, instead of making this a designated "30 day challenge" my goal is to try and be aware of my "multi-tasking" on a daily basis. Period.
To try to be aware and in the present moment when I talk to someone on the phone or e-mail them. I have been on the receiving end of someone who is more interested in watching TV or is on the computer than talking to me, even if they initiated the call, and I understand what a poor impression it can make.
To try to be aware and in the present moment as I move from task to task. Finish one to completion, then move on.
To try to be aware and in the present moment, to, as recommended, Stop what you’re doing, take three breaths and then read the message or e-mail. Again, you will be more fully present, undistracted, and free.
So far, while I'm not there 100% yet, I am becoming more aware of my actions, and it's when I'm aware of my actions that I feel I can take those few breaths, ground and center, and become more present. I'll try and remember to let you know how it goes.