Sunday, November 9, 2014

All the Feels, Peak Multitasking, Electronic Distractions

Recently I heard Duncan Trussell on Alison Rosen’s podcast “Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend”. I listen to Duncan’s podcast sporadically and a little cautiously since I’ve discovered that the quality of his interviews depend almost entirely on the guest. Duncan is so open and boundary-less that he absorbs the energy of whoever he’s talking to, reflecting and amplifying their being. So when the guest is hyper, scattered or emotionally immature, the podcast is too exhausting for me. But when he has great guests, like Jack Cornfield or David Silver, it reaches transcendent heights.  I was excited to hear what Duncan would be like as guest on “Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend”, since Alison is so warm and kind. For me, it turned out to be one of those gift-from-the-Universe things—delivering an essential message at a time when I needed to hear it. It wasn’t a new message, or even an earth-shattering one, but I was due for a reminder: It is not pain itself that causes us so much turmoil, but our resistance to it. Our attempts to escape suffering only prolongs it. Instead, we can go into our pain, feel it fully, have compassion for ourselves, and accept what we are feeling without trying to distract ourselves or waste energy desiring a “better” emotional state. So of course I have now implemented that wisdom perfectly in my life and practice it with flawless consistency. Ha! If you’re so inclined, you can listen to the podcast here. It is truly a thing of beauty.

Speaking of being present, this week, I finally hit peak multitasking. On a normal day, my job is rife with interruptions, distractions, minor crises, and other “surprises” that need to be dealt with, and it’s rare to have a swathe of time in which to sit down and concentrate fully on a project. But this week, it reached heights of comic absurdity. At one point, I found myself simultaneously eating, talking on the phone, returning an e-mail, and texting a colleague. I always promise myself I will stop this. I know it’s ultimately unproductive. But then literally the next minute, there I am again, frantically doing six things at once and not giving any of them my full attention. I’m not someone who enjoys bragging about being too busy or running around like my hair is on fire. I don’t like who I am when I'm doing too many things at once, and I don’t like how it feels. But in my compulsion to keep up, to prevent the whole avalanche of must-do’s from rolling down the mountain and burying me, I habitually multitask, and usually end up having to spend time correcting mistakes I made or revising correspondence I sent out while in the throes of Doing All the Things. I'm not really sure how to stop this behavior, but I have resolved to do so. Next week: A report from the frontlines of Project Presence.

I’m still out of sorts, being between writing projects and waiting for the next big idea to download into my consciousness. So I installed Aion today, a new (for me) MMORPG, as a distraction, because I’m evolved like that. I’ve ousted the Elder Scrolls Online and The Secret World from my rotation. They both started stressing me out too much at the advanced levels. I haven’t actually played Aion yet, but will provide a review here after I’ve gotten a handle on it. I haven’t punched my rug all week, so no update on that front. Since this is a shortish post, enjoy this meditation on presence with Allan Watts.

--Kristen McHenry

2 comments: said...

Another great one, my dear! Very much enjoyed by moi. Keep up the good work!

Kristen McHenry said...

As always, thanks for reading, John!