I don’t have a medical reason for being easily distractable or naturally curious. I just am, and have always been interested in my surroundings. However, because I tend to forget things easily, I am also in a constant state of re-realization when I remember things that are relevant. For example, I know that if I get a full 7-8 hours of sleep I will function and feel better the next day. However, as I run out of time during the day, I often push back my bedtime in favor of some insipid TV show or quality computer goof-off time. This normally reaches a head when I get about 3 hours sleep one night, then I remember how much sleep I need and get to bed on time for a week or two. However, pretty soon I forget and the cycle starts again.

This happens a lot with Raymond too. He is a 5 year old, so that is trying enough for most parents, but he also has autism which adds a whole extra dimension to his behavior. However, on some days when he just won’t listen, I have to rein in my temper and take several deep breaths. Then I remind myself “He has difficulty with auditory processing, so he may not hear you since there is competing background noise.” This helps me reorient, and if we are home I turn off all competing noise sources and have a talk with him. If we are in public, I take him aside to somewhere quieter and try to talk to him. Then I realize all over again how important it is that I raise my son mindfully.

Mindfully. What an odd word, but one I find more appropriate as I get older. I think the reason I get so frustrated with a number of people is that they are not mindful of their actions. I am guilty of it too. I think it is human nature to take things for granted, assume that things are going well because they are supposed to go well and forget all the work we do to keep things headed in the right direction! I know that I do a better job for my clients when I keep this thought at the top of my thought list: “Their wishes are tantamount. Mine are irrelevant.” This helps me refocus and do the absolute best job for my people. The same is true for Raymond’s therapy. When I get my head totally into it, he responds better and we make more progress. When I have other things on my mind, he can sense it and is less responsive, less interested.

So if you can take one thing from this, try living mindfully. To quote Nicholas Malebranche, “Attentiveness is the natural prayer of the soul.” Say a prayer today by paying attention. I promise your rewards will be greater than your effort.

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