Just two minutes

I used to be able to sit in complete silence and just be at peace with myself. I used to be able to curl up with a book and focus on only the story I was reading. I used to be able to listen to music and not think of anything other than the sounds coming from the speakers.

But when Paul died, I found that I was no longer at peace with myself, nor could I focus on a single task. I needed constant stimulation to get through the day: TV, music, Facebook, real books—you name it. And often, I had them all on the go at once. It was the only way to stave off the sadness and tears long enough to get me from one hour to the next.

And now, I’ve found that I don’t need constant stimulation to hide from my grief anymore—I need it because it’s become a part of my routine. I no longer know how to function without a constant stream of noise and distraction.

Which is why one of my goals for the new year is to focus my mind. I’m working on the art of single-tasking. This means that when I take my shower, I am only thinking about my shower—not planning my day. When I’m driving down the road, I am only thinking about the feel of the wheel, the curve of the road, the pressure of my foot on the gas pedal—not rehashing a conversation in my head.

Sound easy? It’s not. I fail at single-tasking all the time. But I’m getting better.

Well, I say I’m getting better but I can’t manage to do nothing for two minutes. And that frustrates me.

But I’m not one to give up. So once I post this, I’m going to turn off all the noise in the house then I’m going to sign out of my email and Facebook accounts, and then I’m going to attempt at doing nothing for two minutes. And once I succeed at that, I’m going to shut down the computer (without re-checking emails or Facebook) and I’m going to go to bed—where I plan to single-task my way to a peaceful night’s sleep.*

How about you? Do you think that you can manage to do nothing for two minutes?

* On-going insomnia will likely prevent me from that task, but I am going to try. Another goal for the year is to finally start sleeping through the night again. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve had a full night’s sleep, and my soul could really use the rest!

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6 thoughts on “Just two minutes

  1. I really appreciate your honesty in your post. It is inspiring to me, as I too struggle with the same thing. It does not seem however, that my reasons are quite as legitimate as yours. I moved to New York for two years for grad school. I have been back in my home town for a little over a year and a half now and I am still recovering. I called it my New York detox, but now I just think it is a long-term recovery. How do I ever get back to that place of complete peace and oneness with self? At times it seems discouraging as if it will never happen. But then I get a moment of hope. Thanks for your post. I am going to turn off the tv. Turn off the computer. Turn off the lights. And try to just rest, in bed. With no thoughts. No lists of things I have to do or want to do. Just sleep. Thanks again for your transparency.

    • Thank you, Shiloh. It’s always nice to hear that my posts have an impact on others. Though I wouldn’t diminish the legitimacy of your reasons to struggle. We all have a different set of obstacles and can’t fairly compare our struggles to each other. (Someone once said that your own grief is worse than anyone else’s–whether it’s for a spouse, a parent, or a pet and I believe that the same is true for our struggles.)

      I hope you were able to turn off last night and rest. It’s hard to do in a world that puts such high importance on outside noise and stimulation, but it’s so good for the soul to turn it off every now and then! (I MUST practice what I preach!)

  2. i would love to have a day where i didn’t have to cram something into every spare minute – it will just have to be my reward after this latest workload.

    i don’t think i do it as a distraction but sometimes i’m not so sure.
    i do know that once i can settle down to one task at a time, or some ‘headspace’ time then life is more complete.

    it is difficult to switch off your mind sometimes (mine gears up around 4am these days)

    good luck

    • I don’t think I mind the busy days–I quite enjoy keeping busy. What I struggle with is that I can’t do just one thing. I can’t ‘just’ read a book–I need the TV or radio on, too. I can’t ‘just’ watch a movie–I need the laptop on so that I can surf the web or write for my blogs at the same time.

      I’m happy to multi-task my work day (iPod on in the office, checking emails constantly, working on three projects at once, all whilst running from one meeting to the next) but I want to be able to single-task my personal time again. I want to be able to watch a movie and get completely immersed in it. I hope that skill isn’t gone forever…

      I am proud of myself for not going to check my email when I woke up at 2 this morning and instead I just stayed in bed and listened to my breathing.

  3. It’s definitely not easy 🙂 Perhaps it’s a challenge I should take up…one day….some day 😉 Last night when the electricity was out, I really was at a loss. No computer, no Facebook, no tv, no radio, no cooking…no….no nothing! It drove me batty – I kept wanting to check Facebook but then realised I couldn’t…so I used my phone to access it….but then realised I had to save my phone’s battery life, lol! It was a rather interesting evening 🙂

    Have a great day! 😀

    • I am starting to be able to turn off everything and just relax with my thoughts again, but can only do it for short periods of time. I sort of look forward to power outages now because it forces me to take time for me. I hope that I keep getting better and am able to shut out the electronic world for an entire weekend and still feel at peace.

      Hope you’re having a less blustery day today!! 🙂

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