Underneath my yellow skin

Minding My Mindfulness

Ed. Note: I am not starting my bad movie live-tweeting this week. In fact, I probably won’t do it ‘live’ when I do start it, but I’ll discuss that more in the first actual bad movie/live-tweet post. 

I like to pride myself on my multitasking abilities. I try to do two or three things at a time, and I find my brain going to bad places when I concentrate on one thing. It’s one reason I don’t like meditation even though I know it’s supposed to be good for me. Currently, I am eating breakfast, watching the Olympics, and typing this post at the same time. I have about one-third of my attention on eating, one-fourth on watching the Olympics, and the rest on typing this post.

This started back when I used to have really bad demons in my head, and I needed a white noise option to drowning them out. I found out that by splitting my attention in several directions, I was able to keep them to a dull roar. I used to read a book as I was walking home from school (not a smart idea. For the children at home, don’t do this!), so I guess that was the prototype to the current multitasking me.

My taiji teacher likes to say that we are not as good at multitasking as we think we are. While I might bristle at this, she’s right. The only way it really works for me is when the things I’m doing don’t really need my concentrated attention. Or, if one thing needs my attention, then the other things have to be suitable for background noise.

I bring this up because I fell on the stairs twice Friday night as I was doing the laundry. I was reading something on my phone as I walked down the stairs because of course I know how many stairs there are! I don’t actually need to pay attention, do I? Apparently, I do because I missed the last step two times in a row. When I went to put the third load into the dryer, you can bet I made damn sure not to be looking at my phone.

Let me back up. I had a root canal last Tuesday, and the process itself wasn’t bad at all. I had a nice nap, and it was done before I knew it. They gave me pain meds and scrips for more pain meds and antibiotics with instructions on how to use them. When I told my dentist it wasn’t bad at all, she told me to wait until the Novocaine wore off. I did, and it still wasn’t bad at all. I dutifully took the antibiotics, but I didn’t need the pain meds.

I was fine the next day as well. Then, that night, I started feeling feverish*, but not bad enough to take the pain meds. I felt like I had a low-grade flu the next day, and my mouth ached. I still didn’t take the pain meds, but I definitely was not at optimal health.

I mention this in relation to my tripping because my sleep has been really shitty since my root canal. Shittier. Why? Because I have to take the antibiotics every eight hours, and my sleep is so weird, it’s hard to take them on a rigorous schedule. Ideally, you take the pill at the exact same time for maximum effect, which meant setting the alarm to get up at five to take the third pill of the day.

So, I’m feverish, groggy, achy, and just not at my best. Add to that reading my phone, and it’s no wonder I tripped as I walked down the stairs. I landed on my knees both times, but taiji kept me relax enough not to twist or sprain anything. Still. Both my knees are sore as is my right thigh (though it’s better today, Sunday, then yesterday), and it’s a clear reminder to me that I need to be more mindful in my day-to-day actions.

I don’t *need* to read that forum on my phone as I’m walking down the stairs. It’ll be there two minutes later when I’m done putting the laundry in the drawer. I don’t *need* to carry all my groceries into the house in one trip. It won’t kill me to do it in two trips. I don’t *need* to do five things at one time, and maybe I’ll actually get things done better and more quickly if I just do one thing at a time.

I have a hunch it’ll take time to break myself of the habit. I found myself reading my phone on my way into my house after I came home from taiji, but at least I was able to laugh at myself over it. I think for now my priority will be on not reading from my phone while I’m doing something mobile. That should cut down on me falling flat on my face.

BTW: The video is a by Pizzicato Five, a group suggested to me by a classmate when I said I really liked Shonen Knife. I really dig this song and video!


*for me. My base temp is around 96°, so I never get over 99°.

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