SOMETHING SHINY SYNDROMEThere's a funny "prayer" list someone wrote to capture the essence of Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality "types". Mine is something like:
Help me focus on one thi-
LOOK A BIRD
-ng at a time!
My younger daughter was a teenager when she went through all 16 of them and, without knowing anything about MBTI or "types", she picked that one out and said, "Hey Mom, it's you!" We all laughed because it's too true. My older daughter has long since dubbed my instant distraction action as my "something shiny syndrome" as in something shiny or its equivalent grabs my attention quicker than I am even aware. And as I get older I realize that my ability to multi-task and keep on track is worse than ever. I used to be able to have the tv on, do email, talk on the phone, work on my calendar and 3 other things and get everything accomplished - well perhaps not so well as I'd have liked. These days, if I'm doing email or reading Facebook I find I have to rewind what is playing on tv having lost the plot! The same is true for audio books while driving, even reading, and, er, um, listening to sermons (don't tell the rector).
Our minds are overloaded with a constant barrage of flashing tv ads, "on demand" movies, computers, readers, iPods, texting, email, tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, shopping, overeating, video games, "breaking news" and on and on. We are addicted to noise and multiple images and constant environmental stimulation and we don't take the time to quiet down, breathe, relax, see the world around us, hear the true voices of those we love or even those we don't. What are we avoiding? Often it's our own thoughts, worries, cares, concerns - an unconscious sense that if I outrun it, it can't get me. But if we don't face it, work with it, accept it in the moment, "it" will chase us into our graves. We know how to be busy; we don't know how to be alone with ourselves.
Today is a good day to take 5 minutes to "unplug". If the only way you can do that is to lock youself into the bathroom, well then, that's a good start. No phones, mp3 players, readers, books, radios, magazines, newspapers, game consoles, or any other distractions, not even thinking. Set a timer, and concentrate on breathing in, hold, breathing out, repeat. If you find yourself thinking, think about your breathing. Just start today even if it is the last 5 minutes before you go to bed. It's a start to discovering your essence and when you find yourself content with yourself, you'll find a great treasure. It takes practice to be conscious in the moment, but it isn't painful or difficult. 5 minutes, TODAY, and again tomorrow... eventually you can work up to 20 minutes - really! - and when you do you will not understand how you managed without that time to be with you. You'll feel so focused!
OH, just got a text, an email, and the phone is ring- wait, no to shiny stuff! I'm going to sit here for 5 minutes and b r e a t h e...NOW.