A little over a week ago I was presented with a figure … 81%.
That’s the percentage of time that we spend involved in activities NOT present. Not mindfully living the moment. That means we are somewhere else in our minds, whether that be in the past or in the future, rather than in the present. We are thinking of something that happened or predicting something that will. Not giving our complete selves to the person and/or activity we are engaged in at that exact moment.
I can only wonder if this number is behind the increased divorce rate. Or behind the lack of committed relationships and actions we all exhibit. Our minds and thoughts being pulled in a million directions by the pings of emails, texts, Facebook alerts and the technology of our world.
Yoga has taught me so much about being in the present moment but I have to admit that though I am focused on the moment in class and mindfully living out each pose, it’s difficult to extend that mindfulness into my daily life. Especially when it comes to my marriage.
Inside the walls of my marriage I take the “mindful time” opportunities we have for granted. Like many couples in the throes of raising little people, we find ourselves talking about the events of our children’s day or planning out the events of the following day to meet their needs as parents. Then the other part of our time is dispersed among chores, work, bills and then zoning out after our greatest treasures are fast asleep.
I don’t want to be part of that 81% statistic and I certainly don’t want my marriage to be within the grasps of that number either. In order to escape the villain of 81, I searched my mind for mindful moments, to identify and understand them in order to make sure I acknowledge those moments as they come to play out in my present moments before they passed by without a mindful thought.
The evening of Valentine’s Day we put the kids to bed and found ourselves on the couch just talking. Not watching the latest Netflix documentary. Not checking off the DVR list. Not a Smartphone in hand or a laptop on a lap. Just us, just talking. Mindfully talking, completely in the present. Before we knew it two hours had passed feeling like an instant. For me, such a talk is equivalent to a diamond ring. I’m a planner, a person with so many ideas filling the nooks and crannies of my brain. Sharing all these thoughts with the man I vowed my life to, makes me feel complete and cared for.
The act of teaching lead to another opportunity where I found ourselves immersed in the present moment. Completely focused on one another, my husband recently gave me my first tennis lesson. To be taught such a craft, the teacher and the student need to be in sync. My husband needed to be focused on my needs and my body movements just as I needed to be focused on his words and his movements. Being focused mindfully in the present lead to an encounter that was loving and tender.
I love the gym. I especially love the gym childcare. But I really love it all when I find myself in the lounge with my husband, just talking. Just he and I, coffee cup in hand. No televisions to be watched, no phones pinging away, no children competing for attention. Our attention mindfully on one another as we talk about everything and anything … mindfully.
I’m grateful for the fact that I’m lucky enough to have my husband home for lunch and dinner most days of the week. When we sit across from one another, talking about the day. Or rolling our eyes at the dramatic tendencies of our children. Or laughing at the weirdness and innocence of our household. Or sharing in the stress of whiny children who seem to be able to get along with everyone BUT their siblings while asking for a glass of milk or seconds each time we raise our own forks to our lips. Eating our meals, not so mindful of our food, but definitely mindful of one another.
81% is just too much of life to let it go by quickly and without full acknowledgement.
I need to make my mindful presence in my marriage more often. Rather than waiting for the moments we are alone I need to start taking advantages of the opportunities that pop up on a regular basis. As hard as it may be when children are screaming or dogs are scrambling under our feet. We vowed through richer or poorer in sickness and health and well past death do us part, so why not live all these vowed moments, good and bad completely mindfully.
How will you spend your 81%?