Tuning Out

It was well past my son’s bedtime and I was still sitting on the side of his bed, book in hand.

“What are those?” he asked pointing to the photo.

“Those are rapids.”

“What’s a rapid?”

“It’s the fast-flowing and choppy part of the river.”

“Why is it fast-flowing?”

“Well because … ” I paused. Why was this river flowing fast? Gulp. How much physics would I need to cover?

“It’s because the river is going down a steep hill,” I said at last and hoped he’d let me move on with the story.

Have you ever tried to keep up with the zillion questions a child asks you in a day? You know, the never ending “why” questions? My son was like that.

I remember when we first brought the internet into the house. We wondered how we would use it. Within two days we wondered how we’d ever survive without it.  All our ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ questions were answered almost instantly.

Today I ponder a different question.

I’m now the tiny salmon, pushing my way up the fast-flowing river of information overload. How can I stay focused, stay on course, keep my emotions in check and not forget things?

Recently I took up yoga therapy with a private therapist to help heal an injured leg and hip. Each session starts with a grounding exercise – slowing down, connecting with the mat and becoming present. It’s about being present, rather than letting your mind wander while you’re stretching, lifting and twisting yourself through the poses. It’s about breathing. It’s about being calm.

What I’ve discovered is that I tend to tune out a lot!

I totally tune out background radio music while I’m working. And when I’m multitasking, I find myself thinking about what I should be doing next, or I’m rehashing an incident that happened earlier in the day. And sadly, my mind sometimes wanders during conversations. Let me tell you up front that I apologize if I don’t respond correctly, or ask you to repeat the last bit because I was probably busy adding carrots to my grocery list and remembering a call I needed to return before the end of the day.

Yoga has brought awareness and is motivating me to manage the information that keeps swirling around in my thinking brain. And when I remember to, I add mindfulness breaks to my hectic days. Slowing down is an incredible gift. It allows me to open my heart to the beauty around me and rediscover things I’d taken for granted. It allows me to welcome simple pleasures back into my life.

(Feature photo courtesy of Emerald Water Anglers)

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