by Dalinka von Marées
While on a run a few days ago, I realized with a renewed jolt that I’d been running on autopilot – and that that was very much a reflection of how I frequently go about my days, weeks and months. My brain disconnects from the “rest of me” and embarks on one of its jaunts into multi-streaming: the simultaneous processing of information, conversations, to-dos, reviews, plans, actions…like an endless stream of Matrix-like numbers, figures and letters running across my mind’s eye.
So, contrary to what I know to be effective, that is, being in and fully aware of every thought and moment and using each to think through and address only one issue at a time, I go up (or is it down?!) the tangent familiar to most professional moms. I cram my mind and my moment(s) with the myriad topics and challenges that occupy my life and time. Ye ol’ get-as-much-as-possible-done-in-as-little-time-as-possible approach, I (ab)use every moment to the fullest, I optimize, optimize, optimize. Only, instead of optimizing, I only manage to destabilize my mind and my thinking further. The result – or lack thereof – is that I effectively spin my wheels without getting anywhere. I touch on a million and one matters – with no apparent and effective plan of action or result for any one or at least one of them. It leaves me feeling spent and aggravated, ineffective, and inefficient, thoroughly irritated with myself and – far worse – usually my kids, too.
Where does the ‘moment-part’ come in? My “ jolt of reality” again brought into sharp focus that it is always, always worth it to be truly in each moment, to really optimize it by focusing on the moment itself, to not cram it with ‘stuff’. To consciously use every moment to live either the moment itself or to allocate the moment to a specific thought or task. It reminded me that only when I continuously apply and work towards this approach and focus, will I know, appreciate, and truly benefit from the value of every moment. Moments make the hour, the day, the week, the month, the year – make my life. If I miss too many of them while on autopilot, it may very well mean that I end up missing much of my life.