Observing the Observer…(Part 1)

Some days, upon waking up, the scatterbrain syndrome is present. There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason for this affliction. It simply exists.

You start your day, making the coffee, maybe turning on the TV for the same recycled news from last night, and you get ready for the hours ahead.

But sometimes things do not click.

For example, every morning I make breakfast. For my wife, it is a bowl of cottage cheese, raspberries, a sprinkle of crushed almonds, and a nice spritz of whipped cream, all topped with two slices of banana. Mine is basically the same, with the substitution of plain Greek yogurt and the rest of the banana. Every single morning I make this meal. Without fail.

But, as I said, sometimes it just doesn’t register. I take out a couple of items, and forget the rest. I forget the bowls from the cupboard. I forget the whipped cream from the fridge. Oh, and I forget to make her that second cup of joe.

What the hell has gotten into me?

Scatterbrained. There’s no other explanation. And then you wonder what is wrong with you; how can you forget so many items? They are always the same goddamn items!

And it doesn’t stop at breakfast, oh no. The syndrome spreads over the course of the day. You know you are supposed to do a few things, run a few errands, but you either forget or accomplish them in such a haphazard fashion that you end up wasting valuable time. ‘If only I went to that store first. Jesus, what an idiot.’ And so on through the day, incessantly berating yourself.

Geez, doesn’t that feel good?

So then you start wondering again. What could possibly be behind this helter-skelter, mad dash phenomenon?

It is not paying attention to the Observer within. That’s all it is. Nothing more. I repeat. Nothing more.

If one were truly observing, then one would be in the moment. But if perhaps you find your cerebellum unusually rattled, it is probably something that simple.

Ok, so here’s another example. Bear with me and see if this resonates for you.

My ancient blue beast of a Ciera (1995) was in the shop for two months (months, mind you!) and I finally picked it up two days ago. I did one simple errand (no confusion there) and traveled back home. My car suddenly stopped going forward. It was like it was stuck in neutral. No matter what gear I put it in, it refused to move.

So there I was, at rush hour, in the dark, on a dangerous bend in the road. To curtail this dreary tale, I eventually got towed home, and there the hulk sits.

Today I had many errands to run. No car. What to do, what to do. Well, since I have been doing it for the past two months, I retrieved my trusty bicycle from the garage.

Now here is the key. As I was lamenting the dire condition of my vehicle, and thinking about the errands ahead, and thinking about how I should be home writing and finishing my manuscript, and wondering how in hell I was going to make it to work next week…it suddenly dawned on me.

I was not observing my Observer. I was not in the moment. I was…somewhere else.

But how can you be ‘somewhere else’ if you are always with yourself?

So after my errands I was biking up a stupendously difficult hill, struggling to pedal and then I heard a sound. I kept pedaling, and heard it again. I stopped, and listened. There it was again, a rap, rap-rap, rap cadence. I scanned the barren trees above and espied a woodpecker. It flitted branch to branch, rapping at the wood.

I stood there, transfixed by this creature. I watched as it pecked away.  A light, gentle snow began to drift down, like ash from spent fireworks.  I was, at that moment, in the moment.

Standing there in the drifting snow, observing this beautiful bird, all other thoughts simply vanished. I was there, part of the scene, captured in the wonder and majesty of nature all around me. Errands and car problems disappeared. I was at one with the universe.

And then I went home. And here I sit. And after this post, I will continue to sit, and be in the Moment, and be fully present as I continue my manuscript.

That’s all I have to say. For now. May you, too, simply stop and observe whenever the scatterbrain syndrome visits you.

It is a joy to behold.


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