I started multi-tasking well before there was a term for it, and I took enormous pride in my ability to engage in multiple projects efficiently. I looked down my nose at people who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) run several channels simultaneously and complete them successfully. I am so sad to admit it, because it just shows me what an arrogant jerk I can be. But there is no mistaking my old approach and the smug joy I took in it.
Which is probably why it got taken away 😉
I don’t multitask anymore. For lots of reasons, most involving forms of decreased capacity. I am super slow, right, so I can’t run 10 errands in 10 minutes anymore. I’ve also got diminished mental capacity. Not sure if it’s age or brain fog or what, but it takes me a minute to access information. Given that my quick mental processor was a huge part of my sense of identity growing up and through my first adulthood, this was hard to get accustomed to. What I valued was gone; I no longer contained what I valued about myself, prided myself on. There may have been a crisis. But for the most part, once again, I find myself appreciating the turn my life has taken that has slowed me down, even if I had to change my values to get it.
Looking at it now, and in honesty, I wasn’t multitasking for the innate enjoyment or service of accomplishing the tasks in which I was engaged. I was multitasking to show off what a badass I was. The accomplishment held little joy in and of itself. The speed, the efficiency, the ability to look down my nose at whomever I just came in and rescued. Oh, Lord, it is hard to look at, and I guarantee you I didn’t see it that way at the time. And maybe I’m being a little hard on myself. But, the truth of the matter is that I had a lot of pride and hubris and I wouldn’t have been able to dig myself out of it without the utter breakdown of the systems that upheld it. My blinders were on, and ultimate success was the only goal. No matter how spiritual I was – and I have always had a primary interest in spiritual principles, literature, traditions and potential – my own spiritual objective had to do with the accomplishment, not the peace it brings. Eric Klein at Wisdom Heart talks about waiting for the “spiritual limousine” -you know, walking the spiritual red carpet, waving at people, stepping into or out of that spiritual stretch that acknowledges accomplishment/achievement. Yikes. And I couldn’t have seen it on that path I was on. It took a profound lifestyle upset to right my misguided values.
I am sad to frame this stuff this way. I don’t like what it says about me, and one of the things I often notice about people who talk about how flawed their “old way” was are typically still living all sorts of flaws, and have a tough time going back and acknowledging the people who had to endure said “old way.” The truth of the matter is I was a normal person who wanted to succeed and who valued the markers of achievement from personal satisfaction to societal approval. Having to deal with physical breakdown and societal meaninglessness, everything has changed. In my enthusiasm for the path that has resulted, I maybe look at my old patterns with not just remorse but frustration, pity, embarrassment and, from what it sounds like, resentment and some disdain. Those emotions and perspectives aren’t particularly helpful, but sometimes they’re there. That’s what I’ve been experiencing here. What started as thoughts about slowing down, changing from multitasking to slow, focused attention turned into an embarrassing rant about myself. And this is unedited. Which is sometimes a drag. And I could just delete it, but this whole thing is about sharing process, and yucky as the picture of myself I’ve painted here, these changes and my perspectives on it have some level of truth -though no picture is complete or entirely accurate – and shine the light on how much this new set of practices has transformed me from who I was trying to be into who I am.