I had the day off today, really off. I was not required to go anywhere and the husband was working so the house was mine. The plan was to relax a little, study what I will be teaching tomorrow a little and clean a lot.
It started out well.
I got the laundry in around 8:30 AM. I set myself and my laptop up on the patio since it was overcast and cool enough to be outside, and I went over all my notes for tomorrow’s class.
Then something happened.
I still have a ton of my mother’s stuff to go through – mostly papers now – and it feels imperative to my purging process to take care of this. So I poked around my room a little to see if there were any boxes or notebooks stuffed into corners that needed attention.
Let’s just say 8 hours and two recycle bins later I am ankle deep in unplanned sorting and purging. Lucky for me, I fantasize about organizing. So this has actually been… fun? No, rewarding maybe. Productive? Satisfying. That’s it.
What I noticed about myself, my thoughts really, during the process is how they jumped from project to project while I was attempting to work on this one. Cleaning the house was back-burnered in favor of this impromptu purge, but laundry continued amidst the shuffling of papers.
There were future projects and current concerns also vying for attention. And I still wanted to clean.
While I was pulling the laundry from the washer and carrying it out to hang on the line, I would catch sight of my room and think, “I really want to put crown molding in there,” or “I need to get those two boxes out of the garage and go through them too,” or “If I switch the hood out on the kitchen remodel I can save almost $1,000,” and on and on.
This is normal for me. Probably you too. But it can be frustrating and fragmenting. I find myself trying rush through one thing to check it off to get to the next. This is my lifelong tendency. It often serves me well, but not always. It creates a false sense of urgency and what I really wanted today was to be where I was, doing whatever I was doing. In it, you know?
So I made an adjustment.
When I felt that usually helpful knot start to tie itself in my stomach I told my self, “Just do this.” And I had to remind myself a lot. It allowed a breath and a moment to refocus. A disruption.
Eventually it got shortened to “Just this.”
And then finally, “This.”
Present: being with whatever it is I am doing. Thoughts always interrupt, but it’s up to me to interrupt them to remain present. Now I have my code word when my mind runs amok with my attention.