Let’s Focus

11021409_10152735021796526_8966241876562844157_oMultitasking: it is not what we were told. Apparently, doing more than one thing at a time is not the amazing feast everyone is so proud of. There have been articles written that show: we have been confusing movement with achievement. Yes, that was it. There was a lot on our plates, but that didn’t mean we were doing any of it right.

As many women of my generation, I was always very proud of my ability to handle several situations at a time. During the years I worked, I was constantly on the go. There is no such thing as relaxation when you work and have a family. When my children were small, I drove then to all their after school activities, read a book while waiting, took side trips to the drugstore or supermarket and who remembers what else. It was the way to go, never thought much about it unless it was to realize I was exhausted at the end of the week!!! Once in a while, I mixed things up and ended forgetting something, buying something I didn’t need, had a couple of near-misses while driving and called each child by his/her sybiling’s name. Of course, I told myself, this happened to every woman I knew. Now, was that really true? or was I just kidding myself? after all, I could handle so much and solve almost anything, I had to be doing this thing right.

No, I wasn’t. If I would have stopped for a second and taken a good look at how I was running around like a chicken without a head, I would have clearly understood. What I was missing was focus. Yes, I was not focusing on any particular task, I was just running through them thinking I was so organized.

Everyone tells us that, with age, we forget, we cannot do as many things, we cannot accomplish as much in a day. Somehow, we are made to believe that we are not as sharp as we used to be. Well, that is a fallacy older women should not fall for. Unless there is something wrong with your mind, slowing down and focusing on the task at hand is the best that can happen to you.

This is finally our time, isn’t? Children are grown, we have retired or are working less, we have time to enjoy the things in life that used to fly-by in our youth. Now we can focus. We can concentrate on the task at hand and do it well, the first time. We can sit and enjoy everything around us. We can read all day, admire the sunsets, go out to lunch with our friends, take a walk on the beach picking up seaglass or shells. What a fabulous discovery!!!

You might think all this comes down to the fact that now we have more time. You may be right, but you may be wrong too. We are now able to do one thing well, while being able to see the whole picture. Like the beautiful photograph on this post. You can see the pier in between the branches, but if you step back a bit, you can see the whole beach, the sky, the ocean. That is focusing!!!

So do not feel that life has slowed down because you do not go around doing three things at a time. That has never been something good, it’s about time we understand. Life has not slowed down our abilities, we are finally doing things right. It is as it should be.

P.S. Thank you so much to Manu Bergman who allowed me to used this photo. It was taken on a most beautiful spot: Barbara Beach, Curaçao.

Breathe!!!

TIME magazine dedicated this week’s cover to mindful breathing. The article is fabulous, a must read. TIME editor, Radhika Jones, says multitasking is affecting our concentration and mindfulness can sharpen our focus. Well, who would have thought? We have been told for years that multitasking was something to be proud of. The ability to do several things at a time proved what organized human beings we were, capable of achieving anything. It seems now that we were confusing movement with achievement: running this way and that did not mean we were accomplishing much!!!

breathe2I don’t know about you, but I feel so much better about this. I could never, really, do more than a couple of things at a time comfortably and then, I wasn’t sure I was completing or doing them right. In the meantime, I have discovered that we have to do things mindfully. This involves breathing properly and I wasn’t….Yes, it all comes down to that: breathing!!!

Frequently, we are told or we tell our friends to breathe. I was just telling a friend a few days ago to do just that. She responded that she was too tired to breathe!! Since we usually mean an inhale/exhale motion when we are flustered, frazzled or upset, that is not enough to produce all the benefits people are talking about. Here is an article that would explain those benefits better than I ever could: Benefits of Deep Breathing

We know that situations in our lives can make us stressed, tense, nervous. In this modern world, when we think of fighting stress, we think of changing our diet or our exercise routine. We even think of medication! Very seldom do we think about changing the way we breathe. We take breathing for granted and think we are doing it right, but we are mistaken. This is what I have learned and tried on and off for years. Unfortunately, I only tried it when I was upset and ready to scream….you understand what I mean. The trick is to do it all the time. From now on, I will try to do this on a regular basis, until this becomes my breathing pattern: breathe slowly, deeply in your abdomen not your chest. Holding the air in your lungs and exhaling through your nose or slightly parted mouth. Keep an even rhythm. It is definitely a learning process, but one we must learn. Soon!!!

Breathing properly makes us powerful because it makes us concentrate and focus. When we learned to do this, we can apply mindfulness to all aspects of our lives. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present, on the task at hand, on our present goal. A statement I found on the Psychology Today website says: “when you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience”

So it’s back to basics: BREATHE, so we can achieve, live better, be healthy and enjoy life!!!