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Body, Mind & Spirit Connections: Juggling

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By Pat Larsen

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a female named Pat Larsen
Pat Larsen

Juggling was originally a circus act first popularized in the courts of royalty in 1781 B.C., as is evidenced by a series of images in ancient tombs in Egypt, though probably it dates much further back than recorded time.

Juggling was a source of entertainment. No wonder this concept caught my attention. I love entertaining with words, acts and personal tests to see just how much I can accomplish in a day. 

Trust me, this is not  for the faint of heart. Sharper folks know enough to take a break on occasion. But somewhere along the way, I adopted the concept of “you rest, you rust,” and so… I multi-task most of the time.

Now the newer, more modernized act of “multitasking” is a test of sorts for type A individuals, like me, and can still be seen as a source of entertainment and amusement if you add a healthy dose of “testing the senses” about what is humanly possible. 

The true overachievers will even find themselves adding to a daily list of things to do, all while crossing off the top items and later on continuing to contribute to the list as the day progresses. 

Yup, count me among one of these individuals. 

Case in point, I began handwriting this column, while awaiting my 6 a.m. appointment at St. Peter’s for a clinical procedure, not wanting to waste a precious moment of my day that would later be occupied with recovery from… well, I think you see where I’m heading with this example.

By nature, I tend to be a curious person, and that got me to wondering if multitasking is really that effective or was it really just pure folly? Again, curiosity was causing me to add this possibility to the list.

Apparently, really smart people who study this stuff have written about and suggested that setting out to accomplish a long, exhaustive list of items to do in a day is actually not effective at all. Was this research possibly an option and a solution to reframing my own actions?  

Might it be a better idea to set about my day with no set plan, simply floating from one task to another? (Can you hear me gasp?)

I decided it might be worth a try and so I started one fateful day by clearing out the dishwasher until my pups asked to go out. While I was “patiently” waiting for them to conclude their business (my friends are laughing at the word “me” and “patient” in the same sentence), I thought it couldn’t hurt to pull out a few weeds in the front garden and then I heard the sound of my mailbox opening and closing and figured getting my daily mail while we were outside was a good idea.

So off down the driveway I proceeded, pups in tow, knowing I was adding extra steps to my tracker.

I decided to head down the road for a walk at this point. Along the way, my neighbor met us and invited me in with the pups to have some tea and not wanting to seem rude, I agreed, so off we went.

Lunchtime then found me back home staring at my basket of unwashed laundry and the full load of clean dishes in the dishwasher.

On and on these half-started, unfinished tasks continued. I was exhausted by 4 p.m. but from what exactly? All of this disorganization left me unprepared for dinner as well.

I decided then and there that the next day I was done with this winging it concept. I’d  go back to juggling a well-organized “to-do list” and entertain myself with thoughts of what I’d actually accomplish.

I mean, if I was going to be exhausted anyway, it was going to be MY WAY, with the entire list crossed off or I’d die trying. 

OK, I’ll admit I start the next day’s “to do list” the night before and even sometimes I carry over. But you knew that.

Juggling as a sport. I kind of like that idea.

Pat Larsen can be reached at 518-275-8686. She offers fitness classes for seniors and Baby Boomers at The Shamrock House in East Durham on Monday and Thursday mornings. Clinical hypnotherapy is offered by appointment. Contact Pat for details.

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