The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Friday, April 18, 2008

Don't Mind Me, I'm just Mono-tasking

When my son was a little guy, it took him a long time to perform simple tasks.  If I asked him to clean up his toys, he had no idea where or how to begin.  The job at hand had to be broken down into steps, and each step needed a little push from Mom.  
Being the type A person I was*(more about that later), I was often practically crawling out of my skin, watching how slowly and deliberately he moved and worked--we had places to go and things to do.  Why couldn't he just throw everything into his toy bin, dustbust the carpet, and come for lunch?!?  And then eat his lunch as quickly as I did?
It didn't occur to me that being on the planet for only 4 years wasn't much time to learn the ins and outs of multi-tasking, OR, that perhaps he wasn't designed for multitasking to begin with.  
Later, when I began working in a Montessori classroom, I saw the beauty and value of working with deliberate, mindful order and focus.  My son seemed to be perfectly designed for the Montessori Classroom!  Big sigh of relief from me, but he couldn't stay in pre-school forever.
In later years, he learned what was expected in our multitasking society, and managed to keep up, though it was sometimes difficult.  I recall one night when Win was a college senior--he was applying for law schools, studying for the LSATs and finishing up his undergraduate studies.  He was also in love!  Whoa, talk about having a lot on your plate!  He called to check in and I remember him saying excitedly, "Mom!  I'm learning how to multitask."
I recall have two absolutely opposing reactions--one of "well, it's about time!", the other of sorrow, as if a part of my son had been found deficient by a world that didn't really know any better, and now he was joining the dark side.  Imagine a beautiful round peg being hammered into a triangle--maybe we've all felt this way at one time or another.
As the years have gone by, Win has graduated from law school and practices law in NYC.  He married Naoko, the woman with whom he fell deeply in love, and they have created a thoughtful life together.  I say thoughtful, because, true to Win's nature, he is back to mono-tasking.  He has found a lifestyle that supports his natural tendency toward taking each step mindfully.  Being a lawyer, there are surely times when he is required to be a multi-tasker, but he's found a balance.
What I  learned from my son in the process was to find another way to be a type A person--not with perfection, not with an either/or bend, not with "All Right Now Or It All Falls Apart."  He continues to teach me appreciation for harmony, and for a sense of wholeness through simple, mindful action. The Middle Way. 
Thank You Win!

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