It takes me up to 30 minutes to prepare my feet each morning.
Often I am sitting in the dark, surrounded by a dozen beds, whose inhabitants are in various states of consciousness. Each movement is slow and deliberate, releasing the smallest of sounds, I… inspect, clean, massage, prepare, trim, medicate, bandage, wrap, limit friction, dress. During this process, there is the bare minimum of stimulus… low light, low sound… all my attention is utterly present, residing in the now.
And thus begins my day.
Each day is roughly the same, a series of single-tasking, simple and unexceptional:
- Prepare and pack
- Walk for 5 hours
- Personal care
Rinse and repeat.
At home, my first act each morning is to make two cups of coffee, pour over. The process takes 8 minutes. I have the house all to myself. It is quiet. The low morning light flows through the greenhouse and into the kitchen. You would think I would bathe in the beauty of that moment. Embrace the now. Practice single-tasking…
but of course I don’t. I immediately turn on the news and begin to check my phone for emails and work issues, while I tap my foot waiting for the coffee to complete its flow.
In the Gospel of Mark, please excuse a Bible-nerd commercial break. Mark is the action-movie-gospel. It is by far the shortest of the four gospels, but just as much if not more happens in it. The most distinct word in the Gospel of Mark is “immediately.” Some think Mark was writing with Roman soldiers in mind as his audience, so he kept it high paced and snappy.
You know what’s funny? From the end of chapter one to the end of chapter 3, there are 11 times that Jesus either simply disconnects OR goes on a walking-trip with a handful of close friends. That’s a lot of simplicity. That’s a lot of single-tasking.
I was raised to have a productivity-obsession… time was not to be wasted. Why accomplish one thing when you could be accomplishing eight?
I am surprised by how satisfying this short experience of single-tasking is… surprised yes…but I am thankful for it.
I don’t know what pace my life will take when I return.
But I hope that I won’t so often miss the morning sun and silence offered by an eight minute gift of making coffee. And who knows… maybe I will start walking a lot more.
So many moments lost.