Making Mental Space for the Important Stuff

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I had what felt like a mini revelation yesterday. Maybe it’s not that impressive, but here goes…

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After a few days of feeling disconnected and needlessly ruminating, I’d used defusion to flip my struggle switch back off so I could connect to the moment and let my thoughts come and go. Feeling super productive and mindfully present all day Thursday, I realized another benefit of being in the moment.  You can remember what you need to do so much easier!  I’d just gotten back from a lunchtime trip to Costco and I’d zipped through the store grabbing only the items on my list, without looking at it!  When I got to the checkout, I pulled out my list and reviewed it.  Everything was already in my cart.  It’s the little things, isn’t it?!

For the past several years, I haven’t trusted myself to remember much at all. Tasks I need to complete, items I need to purchase, etc., all end up going into my phone, computer, or a list on my desk to ensure it gets done.  I ask the ladies on my team at work to send me an email or IM me anything they’ve asked me to do when I’m away from my desk.  I think it started with pregnancy brain and then transformed into mommy brain, but whatever the reason, I try to get the items out of my head and into a system I will check later.  For work stuff, that’s still a good practice.

The types of things I find it so much easier to remember are… calling my sister to tell her that baby gifts are on the way, making a grooming appointment for Claira, having my A1C blood draw done before my next endocrinologist appointment, reminding Sienna to write a get well card for her friend who had her tonsils removed, texting a friend to see how their day is going. I’ll often think of things I want to do, but can’t do them that very moment.  These are the types of activities I used to write in my planner and enjoy crossing off later.

When I was living so much of life disconnected from the moment and focused on planning the next thing, I needed to write these things down or I’d forget about them. Now, I find that being present means that I’m mindful of the important people and priorities in my life, so I’m thinking of them naturally when I have the time and resources to attend to them.  Does that make sense?  Also, by having less “stuff” on my calendar and in my life to plan and organize, I have the time and space to give these important activities attention.

I remember when I first started down this transformation toward living more mindfully, I was afraid that I’d start dropping balls left and right. Wasn’t my planning and organizing responsible for keeping my world spinning??  Wouldn’t my house become a mess, my children become unruly (okay, more unruly!), my good eating and exercise habits unravel, my work productivity suffer greatly, if I stopped?  I quickly learned those fears were completely unfounded.

Instead, being in the moment means that I notice the things that need to get done when they can be done. Microwave dirty?  Clean it.  Dog looking shaggy? Make a grooming appointment.  Son’s toenails too long?  Cut them.  A friend or family member is on my mind? Call or reach out somehow. Sienna wants to play a game? Play with her.  Feeling distance from my husband? Hug him.

The important things will get done when we clear out the noise, activity, and distraction that demands our attention. I don’t need more planning and organizing to ensure I’m spending my time on what matters.  All I need is mindfulness and the mental space to see the needs and respond to them.

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