I had a hard time choosing a photo to accompany this rambling post, about half composed in my mind.
Once I decided on the photo, I had to change the title.
I had been wavering between “Memories” and “Reminiscences” and had finally settled on the somewhat sappy “Down Memory Lane”. This one’s more suitable.
It is things like that that keep my anxiety level high, and my life in chaos.
I’ll have a simple task to do, but rather than just do it, I’ll decide I need to have the perfect tool to accomplish it, or the magazine article describing it, or my notes about how I plan to do it, so time is wasted in the search. In searching, distractions inevitably come up, and I’ll find myself going off on a completely different tangent, and in search of whatever I need for that job. It is multi-tasking to the farthest and most impossible extreme. It is the embodiment of the crazy-making “monkey mind”. It is a curse, and I’m working on it.
This year, I’m employing the Pomodoro Technique. It involves setting a timer for twenty-five minutes (they say twenty-five minutes segments are key to the success) and forcing myself to stay on task – whatever that task may be – for that length of time.
I’m also using a nameless technique that I invented myself to try to make the best of an out-of-control mind. It’s working title should be something like “if not A, then B”. It works like this. Magazines belong in the magazine rack, or in the recycle bin. If I’m in the middle of browsing through a magazine, I don’t want to put it in the rack, where it will be lost or forgotten. If not in the magazine rack, then on the corner of the side table. Multi-tasking through meals is not a good thing, for many reasons. Living alone, it’s an easy habit to fall into. If I can’t simply concentrate on eating, then at least limit distractions to inspirational reading (instead of surfing the internet, reading the news or watching old Bruce Willis films while trying to digest). I think it helps, a bit. It’s a work in progress…as I am.
Yesterday, I blew off most everything I was planning to accomplish. Today, I’m trying to get back on track.
In this new year, I’ve been starting my mornings with a simple yoga routine. It’s designed to take about a half-hour, and I generally do it first thing, while the coffee is brewing. Having missed yesterday entirely, I worked into it more slowly today.
With coffee in hand, I first checked the internet.
That’s another issue, here at home. First there is the writing and publishing of posts on a regular basis. I’ve been pretty steady about it, for a little over a year, and I’m proud of that. But then there is the distraction of thinking someone may have read, and liked what I wrote, and I am not right there to see it. Maybe someone even commented, and I’m not there to answer!
When I first got a computer, and got set up to receive Email, I was enthralled. I sent my daughter into gales of laughter one day by mentioning that she should Email me, because “sometimes I just turn the computer on and sit and wait to get a letter.”
It’s kind of the same thing with this little blog. I’m working on getting it under control.
But, this morning, with coffee, I checked the internet. I noted how many readers had checked in. I responded to a few comments. I read a few posts by others. Judith Baxter, who writes a lovely blog at growingyoungereveryday.wordpress.com had written about nostalgia. She grew up in London, during and after World War II, and was remembering butcher shops and cheese mongers and milk delivery.
By the time I started my yoga routine, I was in a reminiscing mood.
I try to concentrate on my breathing, the stretches, my balance…but my mind wanders. Employing my “if not A, then B” technique, I try at least to use my wandering mind for the greater good. I try to focus my distractions into something helpful, like easing kinks out of joints and muscles, or on affirmations and intentions for my day.
This morning, memories were filling my head.
The “Stork” is a simple standing and balancing stretch.
“Stand balanced on one foot. Fold other leg behind and hold foot…”
That was where I was, one foot in hand, when an old memory came out of the vapors, and made me laugh out loud.
As little children, we had all kinds of games and activities to pass the time and entertain ourselves. Some were classic children’s games; some were of our own invention.
We loved to race. There were plenty of us to compete, and my brother, Ted, was great at the “On your mark…Get set…GO!!”
We had foot races, both walking and running. We had hopping on one foot races. We had wheelbarrow races. Remember those? One child walks on her hands while another child holds that one’s feet in the air and walks behind. We’d do them running. In the yard! We’d do them as entertainment and for prizes at birthday parties!
When I think of how difficult one single push up is today, I can hardly imagine that I was once able to run from one end of the yard and back on my hands!
The other races we did, and the memory that set me off giggling this morning, were “Knee Races”.
Alternately, we called them (horror of politically incorrect horrors! Forgive me, it was the ’50’s) “Crippled Races”.
We’d line up on one end of the living room. Necessarily so, as it was the only room with a rug for cushion. We stood on our knees holding our feet behind us, in our hands. When Ted gave the shout to “GO”, we ran upright – on our knees – as fast as we could to the other side of the room.
Can you imagine what a sight that was?! We must have kept our parents in stitches!
Odd, I can remember my mother chastising us for sitting “on our knees” at the dinner table. We were all small, and folded our legs underneath ourselves for added height. She’d warn us it would cause us to have bad joints and achy knees later in life. In fact, I do have achy joints. My sister Brenda’s knees audibly crackle whenever she uses them, even just going up and down stairs. I don’t remember ever being warned against the Knee Races. Maybe it was just too funny to give up!
Now, to pull this wandering story together, it’s early afternoon. I have finished my yoga, walked the dogs and wrote this story. Still, I have yet to accomplish many of the things I put off yesterday. I’m ready to set the timer (for twenty-five minutes), and give it hell. I’ll check in later. Right now, time to get back on track!