Pulling at my roots,

I grapple gracefully

at new growth, blessed by bees

and nature’s rays and

clouds whose smoky visages

plump with life.

Flailing at the seams,

and tucked inside these dreams,

I’m not frail, but free.

I usually participate in the W3 prompt at the Skeptic’s Kaddish on Wednesdays, but I have decided that I will dive into that one a bit later this week. I had some other thoughts pressing on my mind that I wanted to put it into poetry right this instant! Hah! It simply couldn’t wait another minute.

I’ve been feeling tugged in lots of different directions with the start of the new school year– new job, new childcare issues, new colleagues, new environment, and saying goodbye to old familiarities. It’s a positive time, but it’s also a bit overwhelming.

One issue that I’ve been running into is that I’m thinking of everything all at once. My head will not simply go to the teacherly rumination, “How can I plan the first week’s lesson for my classes?” Instead, it will spiral: “How can I plan this first class, and then this other class, oh, but I need to take this to HR and take that training form to the other campus, and respond to those emails, and add this content into my LMS, oh, there was another email about some other training, and learn this new technology tool, oh, hey, where’s the closest printer..?!”

My brain didn’t use to do this; I think it’s some weird remnant of chemo brain. It will take everything I have to do and spin it into loops, like tangled tree roots. I have to stop, focus, and carefully untangle the threads so that I can accomplish something. It applies to life beyond work, too. At home, I’m spinning through what needs to be done for my kids, the dog, the house, the garden…

I’m needing to retrain my brain to focus properly. I read something on social media this week where a parent was talking about the kids’ show Bluey. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s an adorable cartoon about a blue heeler dog family (and one of the few cartoons featuring talking animals that I can tolerate). The mom from the post said that her daughter asked why she couldn’t always play with them nonstop, like Bluey’s parents seem to do in the show. The mom responded that each episode of the show is nine minutes, so that’s why it seemed like they’re “always” playing. Perhaps the rest of the time, the time we don’t see, Bluey’s parents are working, or doing laundry, etc. Mom could take a break from working to play whatever the daughter wanted– but just for those nine minutes. Those nine minutes would be dedicated to the daughter’s play with no distractions, and then the mom would return to work.

At first, I thought, nine minutes doesn’t seem like enough time to play with your kids, but then I reflected that nine focused minutes of time, giving someone your undivided attention, and listening carefully to them, can be the perfect amount of time before you return to some other task and give it your undivided attention. And it’s not like something must be done for just nine minutes a day; maybe it’s nine minutes before work, and nine at lunch, and another nine a bit later… And maybe this is the perfect cure for a scattered brain.

So, I’m imagining focusing my mind into these nine (or ten) minute chunks of tasks. And maybe others can benefit from this idea. This poem was one of those nine minute chunks, and I’m crossing my fingers for more successfully focused moments, one nine-minute chunk at a time. πŸ˜€

9 thoughts on “Untangled

  1. That’s an interesting approach, worth a try. But I think parents now are too hard on themselves. My mother never played with me or my brothers. Never. We were expected to amuse ourselves. The only time she paid attention was to make sure we were either doing our chores or our homework. I did play with my own girls of course, but not that much as I was also working from home. Playdates were a mainstay for the mothers I knew, who all had the same hybrid life. We helped each other out to keep our sanity.

    But then that was before the digital age. Things are so much more complex and interwoven now. It’s no wonder you can’t focus. I can’t either, and I’m retired. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I do think that part of the difficulty with focus is the digital age that we live in. I was told that the number of minutes we can actively focus on something now equates to our age, so my 2-year-old can only focus for 2 minutes. This is probably why he seems so incredibly busy! πŸ˜€ But I should be able to focus for 34 minutes, supposedly– I’ll keep working at it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the poetry. I can focus my mind but there is sometimes so much all with deadlines that I think your advice is right. I give 2hr intervals though.
    Loved your poem.🀩

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually think that’s a pretty normal problem and not necessarily a chemo thing. Because when you described it, it almost felt like you were describing me, lol. I too am working on reclaiming my focus, because I just can’t seem to stick to a task anymore. It’s a conscious effort. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i love the poem, and i love your narrative about it as well. it is very difficult for mothers like us to have young kids going to school. the responsibilities are overwhelming, really.

    Liked by 1 person

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