Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Living Fully in the Present Moment

It has been quite some time since I've been able to sit down quietly and write a blog entry. I've been so busy running around after Evan (quite literally sometimes), seeing clients, running courses, writing new materials for my online shop, seeing friends, being a wife, a daughter, a mum, etc, etc, etc...... often all at the same time.

But then something stopped me in my tracks and made me really want to write a new blog entry (although I must confess it has taken me over a week to get round to doing it). And what was that something I hear you ask..... Well I was driving home after dropping Evan off at nursery, it is a 30 minutes drive so I often get lost in thoughts of everything that I have to do but as I keep missing my turn offs when I do this (I have a habit of just driving in a straight line when I get too distracted, it must be my subconscious way of keeping me safe) I decided to turn the radio on.

I'm a big Chris Moyles fan so I went straight for Radio 1 but they were about to do the 'car park challenge' which I hate so I switched over and found myself on Radio 2. Now my poor mum has not been able to cope since she lost her cherished Terry Wogan for Chris Evans so I thought I'd stick around for a while and have a listen and find out what she keeps complaining about. I'm not sure whether I caught him on a tame day or he's getting old and just seems tame compared to Moyles but I started enjoying the show (so maybe I'm getting old alongside him).

Anyway back to what stopped me in my tracks. He had a guest on the show talking about how at a recent conference he'd attended he'd noticed how so many people were using their Blackberrys, and Iphones and were texting, emailing and tweeting rather than giving their focussed attention to the speaker. He went on to say that some recent research carried out by neuroscientists in an American University have found that we are not wired up to multi task. That our brains have limited capacity for processing information and it is impossible to focus on 2 things at the same time and be fully responsive to what is going on. Now this is not news to me as a hypnotherapist and one of the first things I teach my clients is that they can't focus on two thoughts at the same time and how the cancel technique uses this to their advantage. The thing that struck me was when he said that he felt that this was very much in line with the ancient wisdom that we should try and live fully in the present moment.

I hate the word should and I hate the word try and this sentence made me fully realise why. Like so many people I am constantly multi-tasking and not really giving enough attention to specific things. This 'should' made me feel guilty and the 'try' made me feel like a failure (which is why I won't let my clients use these words). So once I'd learned what I needed to from these emotions I decided that the next day I would live in the present moment (I had to get my head round it first ;-)).

My biggest sense of guilt came from not being in the present moment when I was with Evan and as it was Tuesday and we always have a morning at home together I started with her. To fully appreciate this I need to take you on a little side story (hopefully you are used to the way I ramble on by now). Evan has been getting quite 'pushy' around other kids, we thought it had stopped so I was very upset to find it had started again. When I got home from dropping her at the nursery I did a search for google "desperate mum kid hitting" - now I realise as I write this I could have got any number of odd results but as often is the case I found exactly what I was looking for, and what I learned very clearly highlighted that I would need to be fully in the present moment to make any of it work. So every time I was with Evan for the next two days I was completely in the moment with her and do you know what, we had sooooooooo much fun. She hadn't suddenly become perfect but I did the things that I'd learned and every time instead of a battle of wills we'd end up laughing. And what's more when I arrived to pick Evan up from nursery on Thursday (she goes on Monday and Thursday mornings) Evan had earned a huge star for playing so nicely and the staff commented on what a change they'd seen in her.

I must confess I've slipped a little and I've seen a change in Evan's behaviour so tomorrow I choose again to be fully in the present moment whenever I am with her. My aim is to keep practicing until it becomes second nature to do this around her and in turn in other areas of my life. I would add at this point that this doesn't mean she has to have 100% of my attention 100% of the time (to learn more about what I've been doing have a read for yourself and watch the video clip at the end).

There is so much distraction in our lives but apart from the wonderful change I saw in Evan I was amazed to find that I didn't get any less done and I had so much more energy. It is bloody tiring multi-tasking and now it has been proving why - we are actually overloading our circuits when we are doing it.

I'd love to read your comments on this - whether you've given this post your full and focussed attention or have been multi-tasking whilst reading let me know your thoughts.

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  1. I love this idea! funnily enough I have been trying to do the same with Milly lately, I find if I just give a little more "in the moment" time she behaves and plays better on her own. As usual your right on the money oh wise one! XXXX

  2. I don't have children yet, but my job (working in a university printmaking workshop) involves a lot of multitasking helping different people with different process at the same time. I often wonder why I feel exhausted when the work isn't particularly 'hard'. This could be why! Now I just have to work out what to do about it... Thanks for the insight, and prompted by Chris Evans too :)