Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Gift of 'Unitasking'

Every day, I call my mother in the assisted living facility where she now lives, back in France. Every time, I struggle with staying present with her, as she keeps on asking the same questions, over and over again. Is everyone ok? When do I see you next? How is the oldest one (my daughter)? How is baby (my brother's child)? Boredom sets in, and I catch myself multitasking. Glancing at computer screen, checking on latest tweets, reading the news, . . . meanwhile talking to her. Today, I purposely resisted the urge, and chose to only be with her. And found a whole stack of emotions, underneath boredom. First, was aversion to situation, wishing for times past without Alzheimer's. Then, came sadness, from the irrevocable loss. Then, empathy for her, and what must be a terrifying experience.

Today, I make another vow. To 'unitask', as much as possible.

12 comments:

  1. you are one of the bloggers I'm getting to know for the first time as part of our participation in the article swap. I liked the piece you wrote .

    On this particular top, I will start using the word onetasking, for sure, thank you for it.

    I just wanted to say that I understand your mixed emotions on the phone call with your mother. My family has had to deal with the ravages of Alzheimers and it is a cruel disease to both the the person who has it and the caretakers around them. There is not good way to get thru the experience other than to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    hang in there,
    zenfant/Shane
    www.zenfant.wordpress.com

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  2. Thank you Shane. I am delighted to meet you. Just went over to your blog, and left comment on Richard's post.

    I will add Zenfant to my blogroll.

    Deep bow,

    marguerite

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  3. perhaps we should try to instill a movement toward the word "uni-tasking" as opposed to the passe term; multi-tasking, which may have damaged our image in the past.

    as a care provider for Alzheimers patients, i have seen the responses from both sides, and i trust your approach is the kindest to all concerned, and a fine example to your daughters.

    mind deep will serve the larger community through your documented path, where many must tread along their own travails. peacefulness, nadine sellers

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  4. Nadine, thank you! I like the word 'unitasking' a lot better than 'onetasking', and just edited post accordingly . . .

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  5. merci marguerite, i wish i had time to involve myself in tweeter, i would bounce right off the screen at high speed for you, writer's love and sympathy, ns

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  6. Oh! you are so kind. No, better attend to your work instead . . . :)

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  7. Marguerite, you taught me about climate change with Lamarguerite, perhaps you can teach me about meditation here, because like climate change,it is a subject I have been wanting to study. And I am TERRIBLE at being "in the present moment."

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  8. Hey, Lynn, so good to 'meet' you here. I will be happy to guide you in your first steps towards mindfulness. I ususally recommend IMC tutorial for beginners - series of six podcasts that will get you going, all available here: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks-intromed.html

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  9. Thank you Marguerite and Nadine for this excellent new word. So useful, such a great reminder, I hope to make it very much part of my vocabulary. Thank you.

    And may your mother, Marguerite, be safe and well. May she live in peace and happiness.

    Marcus

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  10. Oh! Marcus, I am glad Nadine and I added a useful bit to your day . . . Thank you so much for your loving kindness. My mother can certainly benefit from it!

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  11. Sadly, we live in a world where the expectation is to multitask at every possible opportunity. I catch myself doing it at work, I catch myself doing it when with family, I catch myself doing it when I should be doing schoolwork.

    I heard about a study a few weeks back that said that human beings are abysmally poor at true multitasking, and that we are essentially chronic short-term single-taskers. Our attention does not appear to actually settle on multiple things at once.

    Now, all that being said, I actively try to be present with one activity at a time. It's hard to do!

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  12. Yes, multitasking is an acquired habit that is hard to break. I too, struggle. Just like with having, I am finding, more is less, in terms of doing. Mindfulness as instrument to cut through unwholesome clutter.

    Appreciate all your tweets, by the way!

    Deep bow,

    marguerite

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