I require quiet, uninterrupted time to write, actually to accomplish quite of few of my tasks. It is the way I am built; I prefer a peaceful and tidy environment to do my best work. I also live on earth, in a family home, in fairly typical household; hubby, kids, dog. So quiet, tidy, and uninterrupted times aren’t part of my daily reality. I tend to stay up too late just to accomplish a few extra things just like most moms I know. Still…
Interruptions are part of life. EVERY. DAY. It is easy to get frustrated by interruptions. In our world, where we are expected to respond to a myriad of communications almost instantaneously it can be difficult to go five minutes without an interruption. We are cycling faster and faster with no end in sight. We have gone from a society of phone calls and letters, to facsimiles and pagers, to mobile phones and emails, to texting and face time. It is “virtually” impossible to get away for any length of time- pun intended. It is causing a level of weariness our souls weren’t built to handle. It is causing a deep down exhaustion from an unsustainable pace that begs for a break. That pace can put any well-meaning human over the edge when faced with even the tiniest interruption.
Last week, I planned to take the day off (= work from home) one day. I was looking forward to my day; kids in school, husband out for the day, and me at. home. ALONE. Just that thought makes me giddy- all the possibilities and all mine to make without any interruptions, right? Well, wrong. Apparently the dog had been thinking the same thing and demanded my attention by multiple interruptions by his poor behavior. It ended up being ok, but I was once again reminded of my issue with interruptions which I believe is closely tied to expectations. Even if we don’t think we have high expectations (we are told to lower our expectations and then hope to surprised when they are exceeded, right?) they are there, hiding in the grey matter.
So how do we deal with interruptions? Can we EMBRACE them?! If so, how? I believe we can. If we build enough time into our day and learn to create a mindful system of boundaries, as well as a mental (or written) check list of what really constitutes an interruption. We can learn to say no to some, or not now, but later. We can blend expectations with interruptions with guard rails for a beautiful equation. If we do not book every moment of the day with a jam-packed schedule, we can lean into interruptions-to living in the moment- to being there right at the exact moment your friend needs you. And you didn’t expect it, plan it, or schedule it, but it did felt good. You EMBRACED the interruption.
Many interruptions are worthy of our full attention, no matter what we are doing we drop everything to attend to these. These may be welcomed and may not even be defined as such. Some of our greatest and most worthwhile accomplishments probably interrupted what we were doing at the moment- the baby on the way, the wonderful news of a family or friend’s engagement, etc.
We can EMBRACE and look forward to interruptions that deepen our relationships with family, draw us closer in community, make us reflect on what is really important. Who knows, we may just completely change our definition of interruptions, choosing not to include the moments of life that cannot wait until later, that must be lived now, that call us to the present- oh what a gift. Maybe these are not interruptions after all.
And here we are… Embracing every part.
P.S. My perfectionist side and I had a battle and the embracing part won! I was planning to make up the last few days where I was unable to write, it weighed on me heavily. But now I am moving forward, not as a failure, but with good intentions and grace. Looking at my “interruptions” in writing as a life lived and played out. Plans were made, but ultimately I chose to focus on the lives of those who count on me (and not count them as interruptions). So I may not get an A+ in this challenge, but I am still in the game. xo