Day 1 – Concentration Amidst Chaos

The first time I heard Sharon use the metaphor of waving to a friend, with “you don’t have to push aside everyone else,” I laughed out loud. It opened up a whole new way of coming back to the breath, and I think of it often.

Two years ago, and three, when I listened to Day 1, I had little going on in my life. I was largely living in silence and solitude, and all day every day was a practice in deliberate thought and movement. (I was also really broke, so there were lots of fear thoughts to notice and allow).

Today…things are different. I’ve long eschewed busyness and things that undermine my desire for inner peace. I barely used social media for years (which might be connected to the “broke” thing mentioned above)–I mean, I have enough trouble observing my own thoughts without becoming attached to them! This morning, an essay I wrote last summer went live, and my attention was on responding to comments (of which there were many, most quite emotional). I felt myself becoming a bit frantic (the comments were on multiple pages and platforms, and I was interacting with several people via text), and also I felt my mind hooked into looking at the numbers, over and over, compulsively checking. Oh yeah, the grasping mind. Sigh. (I’m a grasper. And also an avoider. And maybe some other patterns, too.)

I took conscious breaths whenever I remembered, and when I went out to the grocery store–still periodically addicted to my phone–I also practiced while standing in line (I used to do that much more often–also something I learned from Sharon–but had forgotten!).

I have an ADHD brain (by which I mean I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, but I don’t consider it a disorder, just a different way of processing information). I get overstimulated very, very easily, much like my nine-month-old kitten, whose tail begins flicking when I pet her for too long. Today was an exercise in staying present despite overstimulation, coming back to the breath over and over. While I don’t like multitasking, because it short-circuits my brain, today I was a bit overwhelmed, yet able to focus on one comment at a time, one breath at a time…one page refresh at a time 😉

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