In a life style of always doing more and multitasking, there is no space for self-compassion. What you are saying to yourself is that everything is more important than the experience you are having at this moment.
While listening to a podcast with Gretchen Rubin I had a breakthrough idea. On her live show from San Francisco she was talking to a guest who was trying to prioritize her time better. A wife, mother, and school teacher, she found herself constantly trying to do two or three things at once. She felt her lifestyle was holding her hostage to the tasks that had the least importance in her life. My ears perked up because I am dedicating the month of February to developing the skill of single tasking. My mind moved to my learning about vulnerability. Connecting these ideas of allowing vulnerability to be present and also living a lifestyle of over tasking I had the thought of how these two ways of being are in conflict. If you are mentally over wrought with doing too many things at the same time, there cannot be room for vulnerability. There is no resilience left for that. Paying attention is part of vulnerability and self-compassion. If we can't pay attention to our feelings and surroundings we are more prone to feeling shame and self-criticism.
So this month I will practice doing one thing at a time, starting with the dishes. I don't have a dishwasher right now so I spend some time everyday in the dishwater. Most of the time my mind is elsewhere. After all, dishes are inconsequential, right? Could I pay attentions to the way the warm water feels, or the beauty of my colorful dishes? Could I notice the way soap makes designs, small and large? I could try. I could be alive in the moment of doing this one thing.
"If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, this hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not "washing the dishes." What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future-and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life."
Thich Nhãt Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness
More mindfulness Monday posts here.