Tuesday, July 19, 2011

be fully present

A few years ago I thought I needed six hands...now it appears as though I need eight...or do I?

Shortly after writing yesterday's post, I stumbled upon this excerpt from Samantha Power's commencement speech at Occidental College. It really struck a chord--or perhaps more accurately, a nerve--with me, so I wanted to share it with you.

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IN WHATEVER YOU do, try to be present, fully present. As Satchel Paige put it, “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.” You gotta be all in. This means leaving your technology behind occasionally and listening to a friend without half of your brain preoccupied by its inner longing for the red light on the BlackBerry.

I have gotten some glimpses of modern learning: In many college classes, laptops depict split screens—notes from a class, and then a range of parallel stimulants: NBA playoff statistics on ESPN.com, a flight home on Expedia, and a new flirtation on Facebook....I know how good you are at multitasking. You have developed the modern muscle set. I know of what I speak because I, too, am a culprit.

You have never seen a U.S. government official and new mother so dexterous in her ability simultaneously to BlackBerry and breast-feed. But I promise you that over time this doesn’t cut it. Something or someone loses out. No more than a surgeon can operate while tweeting can you reach your potential with one ear in, one ear out. You actually have to reacquaint yourself with concentration. We all do. We should all become, as Henry James prescribed, a person “on whom nothing is lost.”

[via The Week]


Molly said...

I agree 100%. But, I do admit it's hard in exhaustedville.
Soak those babies in, they are amazing.

wagonized said...

Oh Suzanne, I call that "thereness" (forgot if i stole that term -- probably did -- or made it up). The ability to be "there", fully there. To throw yourself in the task at hand. I guess teaching taught me that. My worst moments in teaching were those when i wasn't fully there, during that lesson -- and you can't expect people to be fully present when you are not fully present yourself.
That being said, I did breastfeed while listening to "This American Life" more than once :-D
Love this post and I hope you are all doing well!

Cindy said...


aimee said...

oh squeal!! this made my day. you've got to see my friend christy's drawing... you two are kindred spirits.


TeresaR said...

I just read that in The Week too! :) It's something I need to remind myself of daily.

Hope you've had a lovely July and that you're able to get some sleep!