Camping, especially camping alone, gives you a different perspective. Regular world comforts provide us a cushy freedom to make mistakes - an oversize pillow to land on when we fall. But when you're in the woods there is no cushion - you land with a thud. This new reality causes a shift - it creates focus.
When it came to water, every wasted drop meant more effort to collect it again later. Every wasted drop meant I might run out of water somewhere down the line.
So I focused on collecting my water efficiently. I only focused on collecting that water and nothing else, because nothing else actually mattered. Thinking about other tasks was a distraction, and distractions can lead to mistakes.
Now I’m home and I immediately fall back into old patterns. At the water dispenser I fill my cup so high that it splashes out. I do this routinely. I don't focus, I multitask, I'm thinking down the line.
Multitasking is trendy, but dare I say multitasking is wasteful. Instead of putting all your effort into one important task you spread it out over many. Instead of doing one thing well, you half-ass a bunch of things.
My to-do list perpetuates the distraction, making me think I have multiple things to get done so I should work on as many things as possible. But they don’t help me get more done. My mind is spread out and unfocused. My effort is diluted.
The lesson of the forest is to be present in your current state. The lesson is mindfulness.
I choose to heed the call. I choose to fill, not spill, my water. I choose to engage the task at hand - successfully complete it or fail and learn from it - and only then do I move on.
I will make mistakes - I’ll overfill my water from time to time because that’s my habit. But now every time I do that it will serve as a reminder. Each drop of water that falls to the ground is a tap on the shoulder telling me to be present.
Mindfulness isn't merely about observing your feelings and leaving it at that, mindfulness is how we choose to engage the world through our everyday actions.
Next time you fill up your water cup, next time you're doing anything really, remember to be present.
In every task there is mindfulness.