I was sitting in my home office chair researching. My attention was focused in sharply on the mobile app development techniques I was trying to learn. Working at home I always have the risk of some distraction. My wife needing help, the kids needing help, random noises of sibling discontent as they argue about the finer points of who gets to hold the current favored item. So, I put on my noise cancelling headphones to minimize distraction and dive deep into my reading.
As much as I’m trying to focus, I realize something is drawing my attention away from my computer screen. My attention shifts to a repeating sound outside of my office. Half frustrated, I try to identify what the sound is and how I can isolate it and remove it. I have to work, I need to focus, this is important! I realize as I begin to make out the sound more clearly that it is my 3-year-old singing. The voice of an angel is coming through the walls to me, and I am struggling to find a way to remove the sound.
As I listen more closely, I realize I don’t know the song he is singing. It is just a song he is making up, a happy little lyric only a 3-year-old would think to put to music. It is a moment of pure beauty. A smile reaches across my face and gently removes my intensity. I realize as I listen further that he is accompanied by birds signing in the back yard and there is a light breeze blowing.
I realize that the pace I am running my mind at and the urgency I have established in my research is completely self-imposed. The adrenal burst I generated to push myself harder is making me lose sight of the beauty around me. I have pushed myself into survival mode so I can… so I can what? What am I looking to survive to a later moment for? Why do I need to survive this moment? I need to live this moment!
The push toward fight or flight is entirely self-constructed. I am in fact making myself tense as a tool for efficiency and focus. I am turning myself into a tool. I am not a tool; I am a human being. Alive and blessed and driven… Driven to distraction. I need to come back to the present. I need to hear the birds. I need to hear my child. The child that I use as my motivation for what I do. The child I am ignoring as I plow forward trying to provide for.
I want to cry. Both tears of joy and tears of sadness. This moment is so beautiful. My pressure feels so insidious.