Fulfilled, Not Just Full

I’ve been thinking about how full my life is. It seems there’s nothing I can cut out to create more margin. Every moment is double-stacked, as is customary of the American life. No time to breathe. So I did an experiment this week.

I put down my iPhone, crocheting, my book or whatever else I could double do and chose not to multi-task. I focused on the moment and fully took it in instead of splitting my focus. As a mother of six, multi-tasking is as synonymous¬†as breathing. I’m not gonna lie. It was hard and I wasn’t always successful, but when I did…I was able to see things I don’t normally see. Don’t take this as an “enjoy every moment with your kids” post. For me, this was about resting the mind–for me, the target was from technology.

Every single time I chose to put my phone in my pocket and ignore the world demanding my attention through email, text messages, FB comments, Inst*gram notifications, etc. it was as if a fog cleared. I was able to breathe more deeply. I was able to simply enjoy things like a leisurely walk with my Little E focusing on her and seeing the world through her eyes. As we walked, she stopped and said, “Look, dat’s BIG grass!” Big grass, people! She noticed that the grass in this yard was different than the others, nearly up to her knees!

At the park in our neighborhood, as I simply sat and watched her, not my phone, I saw her notice a little girl her age and begin to engage in play with her and when the little girl left the park…my Little E stood there staring off in such a sad way, as if to say, “Come back! I liked playing with you!”

In another one of those moments, she was playing with horses and expressed to me that there were two ponies. Two ponies! She noticed how many there were…and I was there in the moment to notice with her.

Being focused on what was around me, allowed me to see Little E flying one of her brother’s Lego planes around the playroom, imitating a flying and shooting sound–sometimes saying the word, “flying.”

In the photo above, as I sat in my chair enjoying the sunshine–nothing more, I noticed that she was his shadow. Everything he did, she did. Nothing distracted her from her focus on him. I could learn from her.

When DOP called out “Look, Mommy!”– I was present in the moment to actual look and not humor her with a half glance and a mumbling under my breath.

My boys got my eye contact this week as they sought to engage in conversation about what interests them. I actually looked them in the eyes and listened instead of checking my e-mail as I half listened.

And my Mini-Me…got all of me as we took a drive out of town to see her eye doctor. It was fulfilling to engage, listen and enjoy St*rbucks together. Who knew a visit to the eye doctor could be so fun?

I think so many of us mamas have fallen into the American mindset that every moment must be utilized efficiently. Technology has only enhanced the ability to do so, but I’m starting to think it’s a trap when not carefully balanced–at least for me. I don’t write this to judge anyone. It’s just where I’m at. It’s what I’m learning. Technology has such incredible potential when used appropriately, but often times I am desperate for a mental check-out in the midst of my very full day and I find myself thinking that the answer is in my iPhone as I engage with the world out there while raising my family. You know what I found in the midst of my experiment? I found out that the mental check-out I was seeking was not in the multi-tasking, but in the lessening. Less truly is more. Believe me, I struggle with this. When given opportunity to truly rest, I almost don’t know how to do it.

When I gave myself permission to not respond immediately to the technology that beckoned me, I got the respite I was needing in the midst of my crazy, busy life. I was fulfilled, not just full. The answer I was seeking was right under my nose, nestled in my back pocket. And in my back pocket it will stay, for now, until I forget again. I am human. I’m not saying that I’m completely ditching technology. No way. I love the way technology allows me to connect with people that I would not otherwise and that it can be a platform for being a voice in areas that are needed. What I’m saying is that I’m seeking to balance it by lessening my immediate response to it so that I can rest my mind and notice the little things of this life that fill me in a way that technology does not.

Do you need permission? I’ll give it to you. Sweet Mama, you have my permission to put your technology (or whatever your vice) aside and embrace the fullness of the moment right in front of you. I give you permission to not respond immediately to that text message you just got. I give you permission to reply to my comment on FB later. Permission is granted to have a singular focus on this moment. Nothing more, nothing less. Take a deep breath and notice all that you’ve been missing.


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One Reply to “Fulfilled, Not Just Full”

  1. Chris

    Yesterday, after all the official soccer games were over, I laid on the grass . . . “Dad, Watch!” . . . and all three boys took turns showing off their juggling skills for over an hour. We’re planning a repeat experience after dinner tonight.