My mind is constantly working, moving, worrying, and anxious. This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. It’s what keeps me dreaming, driven, and always wanting to challenge myself. But it can also be exhausting at times. It comes down to being unable to be present.
I might be doing one thing, but my mind might be thinking about 10 other things. It takes a lot of effort for me to sit down and concentrate on one thing at a time. My yoga practice helps me with this tremendously, but I do struggle with remembering to take that same consciousness and practice off my mat.Concentrating on my breath helps. It reminds me to slow down and stay in the moment, but I also know I need to work on this some more, I want to work on this some more. So now we come to the slightly weird, but maybe-too-much-information picture above.
When I brush my teeth I’m pretty much always doing something else at the same time. I might be putting the kettle on to make some tea, trying to organize my counter in the bathroom, I might look up in the vanity mirror and see a bunch of fingerprints and decide to start cleaning it while I brush my teeth. I’m in constant work mode, trying to figure out what more I can do. So I bite down on my toothbrush a lot, hence the toothbrush pictured on the right. Mind you, this is only after two weeks of using it. My sister thinks I’m a savage and is constantly asking me what the hell is wrong with me when she sees my toothbrush. I need a new one pretty much every two weeks, sometimes they only last a week. I’ve always just brushed it off and said it was me, it was the way I worked. Maybe it makes me weird, though, I seriously believe I can’t be the only one whose toothbrush looks like this. At least I seriously hope I’m not the only one. Also I want to take a second and say, I do brush my teeth well, okay Mom!
About a week ago though I was telling my mum about being thrilled to find a brand of bamboo toothbrushes that sold a 12-pack of brushes (when you go through as many as me bulk toothbrushes are the only kind I buy). She paused for a second and then said maybe I should try not doing anything else while I brushed my teeth. She’s always said this to me, but for some reason this time it stuck. It got me thinking, one of my biggest anxieties has always been this feeling that there is not enough time to do everything, and that often means I lose the sense of being present in every moment because I am too busy thinking about the next one.
That night I decided I was going put a song on when I brushed my teeth and do nothing, think of nothing else but the act of brushing my teeth. Man it’s hard! My brain and body automatically start going other places. I see my pack brushes lying across the counter and automatically go to put them back in their place, and so many other distractions that are, well, distracting! I didn’t realise how much of a conscious effort it would take to be present in this one, very simple act. I’ve been getting better, and as small as this is, it feels like a little victory every morning and every night. I’ve only been doing it for a week now but it makes me happy because I know I am trying. There are other aspects in my life I need to work on being present in, but this was a start and I’m happy to have started. Also my toothbrush is definitely looking a lot better!