The Just One Thing Phenom

So today I have been really struck by a coincidence of “one”. Maybe it’s really a vortex of things having to do with “one”. Maybe it’s all really obvious stuff that I just now noticed. Well, it doesn’t really matter, but I’m going to share. Here are some things about “one” that I notice today.

I really have the capacity to do “just one thing” really well…at a time. In truth, I can do lots of things really well, just not at the same time. I used to think I was the most awesome multi-tasker. I could have multiple projects going at a time. I can cook a complicated meal and have every dish ready for the table at the same time. I could actually get my checkbook out and start writing the check before I know the total for the groceries. (Sidebar rant: Okay, I don’t use checks anymore, but I am often in the checkout line behind the person who not only still writes checks, but also doesn’t even get the checkbook out until the total is announced. Like, you know, the date and the store might change?!?) Anyway, sorry about the detour. I thought I could multitask. Nope. I really am a decent planner and sequencer. When I truly try to do more than one thing at a time, I am only doing one thing well, and that is fooling myself. None of the things are really done well. And I notice something interesting happens inside my brain. I get scattered and impatient and it feels a lot like stress. So that’s a great warning sign, right? Stress does not mean “wonderful” or “awesome”, so I need to pay attention to that feeling. Not everything needs to be done well, but when it does, giving it the attention it needs is the way to go. One thing at a time.

I can do one more. I recently started running. Yes, my coach says I can call it running, even if I am very slow, even if I am training in run/walk intervals. Somedays it’s hard. Today it was really hard. It sucked. After the first kilometer, I had no idea how I was going to finish. I didn’t want to quit, but I honestly could not see where I was going to get the energy to run the next four. So I said, I can do one more interval. And I kept doing that until I finished. I was prepared to stop if I couldn’t do one more interval, but facing them one at a time made it possible, while looking at the whole thing was overwhelming. “One more” is a lot more manageable than “the whole thing”.

One day at a time. OMG, that’s the best thing ever to have come out of any twelve step program. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention all the people who were able to reclaim their lives and flourish. Duh. But that’s how they did it. It kinda builds on the last concept. Sometimes what you have in front of you seems so overwhelming that you have no idea how to start, or you just want to quit. But if you focus on what you can do today…just what you can do today…and let tomorrow sort itself out when it gets here, you find that you can actually do it. This is really wonderful to remember in the middle of the night when all the worries come crashing in. “One day at a time.” What can I do right now, today, in the middle of the night? Probably none of the things I am worrying about, so I’ll play Scarlet O’Hara and worry about it tomorrow. Actually, I won’t worry about it, I’ll do what I can do when tomorrow is today. That doesn’t mean settle or procrastinate. The most amazing things are done one step at a time, one day at a time.

Everybody has one interesting thing to say to you. Some have more. You can even learn something from a complete idiot – even if what you learn is “Wow, I really don’t believe what that idiot said. I need to stay away from him.” Or maybe someone hands you a tiny piece of a puzzle that helps you make sense of something else. If you keep an open mind, always looking for that one thing they have for you, you’ll discover a web of interconnectedness and synchronicity. It’s really, really cool, and it feels like cheating, because things start to come so easily.

Today I am going to focus on one thing at a time, and it will be something that I can do today. I already used the “I can do one more” to finish my workout. I wrote one blog. And I will look for “the one thing” that I can learn from each person I encounter. Today is going to be one good day.

What’s your one thing? Share it in the comments below!

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