I have to say that lately I have been quite preoccupied. It has been a very busy time for our family lately. We are still finishing up our home projects and have several trips planned this fall. I have also been lucky enough to get two grants at work, so I am busy with the activities involved in starting new projects. Often, I am one place, but my thoughts are somewhere else. So you can understand how surprised I was when I discovered a snake in the grass when I was digging up weeds.
Snakes are relatively common where I live in Florida. In fact, we had a four foot snake on our front doorstep about two weeks ago. However, this is the first one that I have uncovered in nearly two years of our massive home and backyard renovation. Of course it happened when I was multitasking. I was in the backyard talking to my brother and digging up weeds so that we could finally finish laying the grass. I grabbed this massive clump of weeds, pulled it out of the sand, and that I when I noticed the snake wriggling away.
It was black with red on its tail. As it slithered away, I screamed and did some kind of weird snake dance. The snake dove into the grass. I found it a second time, and yes, I screamed a second time. But again, it got away. Then, my brother was able to pull it out of the grass briefly. When he did, we noticed that its belly was bright orange. But it got away a third time, and we gave up our quest to relocate it. So now we have a snake loose in the yard.
As I reflected on the experience, I realize that it took a snake in the grass to snap me out of my preoccupied state. Until I found the snake, I was not living in the moment. I was living in the future, doing one thing and at the same time thinking about all of the other things I need to do. As a researcher, this is common for me to do. For each project, I have a series of tasks that have to be done, usually in a particular order, and so I have to plan carefully. However, I have noticed that this orientation has spilled over into all aspects of my life. In other words, I am often not fully there in each moment. The lesson that I learned in this experience is that I need to be more mindful by being more focused on the present.
Do you try to live in the moment? What do you do to focus on being present?