One of the things I’m working on is being more present in the moment.
Specifically I am wanting to do better at these things:
–Living in the moment
–Becoming a much better listener
–Being more present
Actually, these things, although numerous, are all related. In fact, I think if I could become a much better listener I’d be much better at all of the above.
One of the things I learned at my recent coaches training course, Fundamentals, is that there are three levels of listening. The first is the one where you’re listening mostly to your own thoughts. (For example: Did I unplug the iron? Gosh my response sounded stupid. I can’t forget about the playdate. I have to remember to go to the store and pick up some grapes after this. And so on.)
The next level (Level 2) is laser focused. Think of two people when they are first falling in love. When they’re together, the other person consumes the other’s attention. It’s high level, direct, focused listening.
The third level of listening is deep. It’s is when you are listening at a high level to what’s being said and communicated, but your senses are more keen. As a result, you’re picking up the mood and energy, subtle things that are happening, nonverbal communication, etc., — and your intuition often kicks in during this level of listening.
I think I’m really good at the first kind of listening and pretty good at the third level as well. But, the second level — the laser-focused listening — I am not good at. That is, unless I’m very interested in what it is you are saying. The problem is, of course, that if you’re the listener, it’s not up to you what the person is saying. It’s safe to say that, most of the time, I am not a good direct listener.
Because, well, it requires too much of my attention. I’ve got a lot going on in my brain.
Not to brag, and in fact this is not bragging because, turns out, it’s nothing to be proud of, I am phenomenal at juggling lots of tasks at one time and somehow not letting any of the balls hit the floor.
Unfortunately, I’m missing out on a lot as a result. There is a lot of science, and plenty of articles that support this.
Wandering Mind is a Sign of Unhappiness
The Madness of Multitasking
Multitasking Makes You Stupid
By the way, I’m no stranger to the concept of “compartmentalizing” — the act of neatly managing activities and time by scheduling via grouping(s). In fact, one of my favorite authors is Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Work Week). Famous for “lifestyle design” tips, Ferriss’ batching concept is something I’ve tried before, but never adhered to. This is a little different from what I’m working on, but it’s all related to the fact I’m not good at narrowly focusing my attention.
Let me state for the record that generally, no one in my life is complaining about my multitasking or inability to live more in the present. In fact, I can’t remember any of our three young sons, or my husband, complaining about this. And, also, for the record, the thoughts that consume my head space are almost always positive and exciting in nature. Often they involve books I’m reading, or events that are coming up, or fond memories or ideas for business. Mostly they are not what I would consider nagging thoughts. Heck, much of it is dreamy — as in, “day dreaming.”
Still, according to science, I’m missing out. I want to experience more fully the times I’m playing Legos with our three boys. I want to hear, on a deep level, what they say when they’re expressing something to me. And even though I could argue, pretty effectively, that taking the long view in lieu of being still and celebrating the present has served me well most of my life, I think I’m short-changing myself by focusing too much on future events and ideas instead of the task or event at hand.
So, I’m determined to improve this about myself. I started this weekend, by going offline — totally “disconnecting” — from my cell phone, texting, email and computer use, from 6 am Saturday morning until 6 am Monday morning (today). I think I made progress in being more present by removing significant distractions.
I want to be careful not to complain about technology. In fact, I love technology and I feel strongly that social connectedness enriches one’s life. Certainly living out on the frontier of Wyoming, and working alone in an RV by the river, can be lonely and isolating, even. I love my Facebook relationships, and I love having the unlimited knowledge at my fingertips that is provided by the internet. I love capturing precious moments in photos and videos and then sharing them with my networks of friends and family. These truly enrich my life in so many ways, and in my opinion, are not bad things.
Except for when they distract me from my loved ones.
But, as they say, help is on the way. 🙂 From time to time, I’m going to continue to limit my “virtual” connectedness in an effort to be more connected with the right now.
Thanks for listening!