Report From PIA – November 12
I worked at the garden center today, and on my lunch break I drove to the bank while eating my lunch and listening to a book on CD. I ate, got the banking done, and heard two chapters in 20 minutes. I was doing several things at once, and it was productive, but not relaxing.
Sometimes, when talking to a friend on the phone, her response time gets longer and longer. I can hear that her attention isn’t on what I’m saying, and know that she’s undoubtedly reading something on her computer. Why am I so sure? Because I was once reading email when talking to my mother, and suddenly Mom said, “Well, I can hear that you’re busy so I’ll let you go.” It’s possible to wash dishes or stir the polenta while you’re talking on the phone, but it’s not possible to do read and fully listen at the same time.
In my garden, I try not to multitask. I don’t listen to my ipod when I’m outside, and although a few weeds might be pulled during a phone conversation, I mostly try to listen to my surroundings. I want to hear the wind, birdsongs, and the buzzing of bees.
The difficult thing for me is to silence a chattering mind. If I’m not recycling lists of what I should be doing for the work and personal balls I keep up in the air, I’m thinking about what I should have done in the garden this past year, or what needs to be done next spring. The brain chatter is hard to stop. As my friend Heather says, “The mind is a dangerous neighborhood.”
For me, the garden is most relaxing and rejuvenating when I can put all else aside, including that magpie mind, and focus on just one thing: gardening, right here, right now.
We all multitask, but at what price?