Friday, December 15, 2017

Juggling Then, When & Now

I almost slid completely off the back end of the treadmill today.

It was a reminder: “Pay attention to what you’re doing now, Susan.” It’s one of the reasons why the shutoff clip is on the machine in the first place.

I’ve mentioned previously how I listen to KPop when I’m running. (2017 has been a great year- Michael Choi is running a nice poll of The 50+ Best Kpop Songs of 2017 on if you’re interested in sampling a bit.) Music was the key to get me to exercise regularly. With rhythms that beg to be followed and variety in style and message, KPop keeps me focused and distracts me from wallowing in the bits I dislike. I need help with both.

My mind still manages to wander, however. 

Today, I was chugging along, nothing fancy. My goal was to just get a run in without stopping- I’ve been having problems with that lately. Despite that goal and the music’s call, I started thinking about other things. Writing topics. Speech scripts. What to do during winter break. The kitchen repainting I’ve just started.

That’s when it happened. My attention wavered and I slowed. Suddenly, all the tread was ahead of me and I sensed my back foot was hovering over air and not rubber. I scrambled to regain my footing and advanced back to the control panel. What a perfect example of a well-known fact:

Multitasking leads to a drop in quality.

We’re all struggling every day, juggling care for our bodies, minds and spirits and interacting with a bunch of other people doing the same. That’s tough enough. When we add our worries of both the past and the future, it can become a tornado we become lost in. The job at hand stays the same; we are the ones who affect the outcome by leaving the moment.

Mindfulness allows us to truly experience our lives.

Mindfulness: immersing in the current moment completely, unmoved by judgement. My extra thoughts of what happened before or what could happen in the future led to a reduction of my current physical speed. My mind left my body in the dirt. I clearly wasn’t exercising as intently nor was I even enjoying the music filling the air around me as I typically would (sorry, Super Junior!). Or as I should.

It wasn’t a catastrophe. It was just a little blip. However, those blips can add up over time. What are the other treadmill slips happening over the course of our days?

We have right now. 

We have what’s around us and what we are. Now. We have the breath coming into our bodies and the gust as we exhale it back out again. That’s it, but it can be amazing if focus on it and really feel it.

A long series of well-experienced “Now”s can lead to a lifetime of growth, learning, and happiness. The “Then”s and “When”s won’t.

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