I did my favorite run from the rec center near my house last week. It’s a 10k loop that winds through Lancaster County farmlands and the small town I live in. I have done this run so many times, I could probably do it in my sleep.
Because the run is so familiar, and I know it so well, I have plenty of opportunities to get lost in my thoughts when I do it. As I was running, I was thinking of the word “intentional“.
I was inspired by some people I visited recently who really do live intentional lives. The experience made me look at my own life to consider ways that I could be more intentional.
I usually have a hundred things going on at all times. I am the ultimate multi-tasker. Even when I run, I am not always concentrating on the run – I am examining all the thoughts that roll through my brain, looking for interesting signs to ponder (you can read about my proclivity for signs here), sometimes even singing (yes, out loud!) to keep myself amused. I once wrote a post where I confessed to scrolling through my newsfeed while doing yoga.
The result of all this multi-tasking is that each “task” gets accomplished in a perfunctory sort of way. I am not really giving my undivided attention to anything, because I am trying to do everything.
Then I came across this quote:
“How you do one thing, is how you do everything. Be aware.”
And it stopped me in my tracks.
It made me ask the question “How many times have I taken shortcuts because I am so busy?” How often have I performed tasks in a slap-dash way? How many times have I not vacuumed under the bed, because no one sees under there anyway? How many times have I just thrown a salad together rather than arranged it beautifully, because I hate to make salads?
Here is the thing – I love to eat beautiful fresh salads. I appreciate a gorgeous colorful salad. My hubby and I recently visited two of our sons and their families. My daughters-in-law each made perfectly constructed, fresh, delicious salads. They used inventive ingredients. They were carefully and thoughtfully arranged. The salads were a joy to eat. They looked and tasted much better than my haphazard affairs. What if I were to concentrate on really making wonderful salads?
And what if I carried my new salad-making philosophy into other, more important areas of my life? What else could be improved if I would just concentrate on one thing at a time and doing it well, rather than doing many things in an indiscriminate way?
Relationships are important to me. I know that I sometimes neglect relationships or take them for granted. What if I would focus on each relationship that I hold dear and spend some quality time with friends and family uninterrupted by electronic media or other distractions?
Writing is important to me. I feel very good about some of the posts I write. I feel as though I have put a lot of thought into the piece, reread and polished it, and hit the publish button only when it is saying exactly what I want it to say. Sometimes I feel as though I rush through the process in order to meet an imaginary deadline that I have arbitrarily set. What if I would carefully and thoughtfully examine each article, and publish only the ones that convey a positive message of joy, hope, and encouragement?
Running is important to me. It is a big part of my life. I sometimes feel as though I try to do every race that comes across my radar – trail races, 5ks, marathons, half marathons. It’s impossible to do all of them well, all of the time. It is tough to run a fast 5k when I need to do long runs each week for marathon training. I just don’t recover as fast as I used to. What if I paused before signing up for a race until I have time to consider how it fits into my schedule? What if I signed up only for races that really excite me, and focus on quality, rather than quantity?
Finally, love is very important to me. There is no one I love more than my hubby. I know that sometimes when he is talking to me, I am not focusing on his words because I am doing something else. This is an instance when multi-tasking is definitely inappropriate. What if I concentrate on giving the man I love more of my awareness? What If I stopped typing, looking at my phone, chopping onions or whatever other less important undertaking I am doing and gave him my undivided attention when he is trying to tell me something?
If I start doing the small things in life – like salads – better by slowing down and paying more attention, maybe that will help me do big things – like relationships – better also. Intentional is an adjective I want to apply to my life. I don’t want to settle for mediocre. I want spectacular. “How you do one thing, is how you do everything. Be aware.”
I am linking up with Clean East Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Shank You Very Much for Global Blogging, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, blovedboston for Weekending, Char at Trekking Thru, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness, Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart, Eclectic Evelyn for her Words on Wednesday, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Sharing a Journey for Wellness Wednesday, and Shank You Very Much for Dream Team.