In an effort to share a range of perspectives on the meaning of mindfulness and to facilitate a discussion about this important topic, we are posting a series of short essays by different contributors on What Mindfulness Means to Me. Below is a blog post by Trish Weinmann.
It happened again today. While I was working, my phone rang and it was my beloved, fabulous daughter. I greeted her and asked how her day was going. As she began talking to me, I was caught as she asked: “Are you doing something else? Should I call you back another time?”
How could this happen? How could I keep working on an email while my child, (my child!) was sharing her day with me? As soon as I heard those terrible questions, I got up and stepped outside – stepped away from the computer, stepped away from the notes sprawled across the table.
Sherry Turkle, a MIT professor, has a new book called Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. One of the key sentences in the book for me is: “Think of uni-tasking as the next big thing.“
This is where mindfulness practice comes in. I’ve been practicing some kind of meditation for years but not with consistency or dedication. This year, though, I decided that I needed to exercise that part of my mind. Consistently. Daily. Too often my mind would be in ten different directions and getting no where fast. Or I would arrive at a destination without noticing anything along the way. Or I would interrupt people in conversation because I wasn’t paying attention.
For me, mindfulness practice means paying attention; noticing; being grateful; being present to my loved ones, my work, my hobbies, my body, my life. The practice has created more spaciousness in my head so I can be more present and, at the same time, more focused.
That question, “Are you doing something else?” is being asked less and less. I’m taking uni-tasking to heart!
Patricia-Maria Weinmann began working with MIT’s Radius while pursuing her graduate degree in opera direction and production. In addition to her work at MIT, she is an active freelance stage director and co-artistic director of Boston Opera Collaborative, in addition to being a communications consultant and trainer. She introduces clients and singers to mindfulness practice whenever and wherever she can, under any guise possible. She is married to classical guitarist, John Muratore. They have two grown children, Paulina and Nicco, and live in Jamaica Plain.