A Zone of Your Own
by Susie Michelle Cortright
I've been reading a lot lately about present moment living.finding your bliss and all that. These authors tell me that joy exists in even the most mundane tasks if we can cultivate the proper level of awareness and concentration.
Kids, these self-help authors say, are prime examples of our innate ability to live in the moment. My toddler is proof positive. She sits in her high chair, reveling in the quiet bliss that comes with a new pack of Crayolas and clean white paper.
I watch as she pulls the crayons out, one by one, and jabs the paper with them. Then, she loads the crayons carefully back into the box. Oops, that one went in the wrong way. She dumps them out and starts over. Her lips, pursed in concentration, form a perfect "o." Her breathing gets heavy.
She's in the zone.
At least that's what athletes call it. That hypnotic feeling of being so utterly concentrated that you lose track of the rest of the world. Here, we are completely task-oriented. Enveloped in a self-induced trance. Hypnotized by the joy of just doing something-of being entirely focused on a single task.
For me, this present moment awareness--this bliss of finding joy in work and play--is something I experience occasionally, perhaps when I'm on a roll with a project or on the last few pages of a juicy paperback. Even sometimes when I have my hands in sudsy dishwater. This present moment awareness can come anytime, under one condition: Everyone else has to be asleep.
Of course, the experts say that everything--even something as simple as a taking a shower can hold new pleasures when you simply focus on the details: the way the water feels as it rushes across your shoulders, how your scalp tingles when you massage in the shampoo.
But all your efforts to make your shower take on these meditative qualities go straight down the drain when you have to peek out from behind the shower curtain every few moments to make sure your child isn't choking on the Oreo you used as a bribe to assure yourself at least time enough to shave your legs
When a meditative state is continually interrupted, the results are far from restorative. These inevitable interruptions can make us even more frustrated.
Maybe we moms must focus instead on the ability to slide in and out of zones. (I'd love to see a book on that.)
Or maybe the time to cultivate our awareness of the present moment is when the kids are in a zone of their own, such as sleep. And if all else fails, we can always hand them a new box of crayons. Then sit back and enjoy the moment.
It is a moment made all the more enjoyable by the awareness that we don't know when the next one will be.
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground. Join her scrapbooking club or learn more about starting your own scrapbooking business on Susie's team.