Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Frantic or Focused?

Yup, that's our Elsie on the right frolicking in the lily pads. My, how these Labs love the water!

During my month-long absence we made another trip to the cottage where the dogs swam and retrieved and walked and played until they exhausted themselves.

It's funny, though. Elsie seemed to have to relearn how to swim. She did the front-paws-splashing thing for a while again (just like 4th of July weekend) until she settled down and learned that she propelled herself more effectively by keeping her paws beneath the water's surface.

It's funny how our canine friends mimic us. When I'm excited (or scared or overwhelmed), my mind kicks into a flurry of activity (essentially splashing my paws on the surface, though no one can see my frantic thought process), and I get little accomplished. It's only when I settle down and focus that I become most productive.

Take last month, for example. Between teaching conference workshops, moving college-age kids from once place to another, dealing with a few health issues (including migraines and diabetes), handling the home front alone while hubby was in Ireland (including Elsie's ear and staff infections--another story for another time), completing my 60-hour-once-a-year-volunteer-project for my high-school-senior son's marching band, and working, too--well, it was just too many plates spinning on too many poles. And when I frantically splashed about--thinking about them all--I got little done.

You see, when Elsie paddles too hard and splashes, she can't see the dummy she's supposed to retrieve out in the water; she has nowhere to focus her attention so she looks everywhere at once. Her activity blocks her vision.

It's no less so for me. My racing mind doesn't look at one place; it looks everywhere and thus nowhere at the same time. But when I settle down, my mental vision clears--I can focus on the next task at hand, finish it well, and then move on. One task at a time.

It's a lesson I wish I only had to learn once. But like Elsie, it's one I seemed destined to relearn.

Well, at least now I'm no longer splashing. I've settled into smooth propulsion once again. And I'm getting things done. But for how long? Until the next disruption? The next crisis? The next overwhelming job?

Maybe Elsie knows. Until then I'll just keep paddling. :o)

'Til next time,
Joan

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