BEING PRESENT

December 10, 2015

 

Do a Google search on multitasking and you will learn that playing video games improves one’s ability to focus.

 

 

This is supposedly true for three groups:

 

1.   Adolescents

 

2.   People with ADHD

 

3.   Surgeons learning laparoscopic surgery. 

 

Keep scrolling though, and other studies prove the exact opposite.  How crazy!

 

When I was a kid, I envied classmates who could sing Miss Mary Mack and play patty cake at the same time, or rub their belly while patting their head.  My friend Ginna is ambidextrous – she can write with both hands at the same time.  For an extra flourish, she would write with two different colored pens!

 

There are some things we humans simply cannot do at the same time, like chew crackers and whistle, or sneeze with our eyes open.  Go ahead and try them!  Some multi-tasking activities are illegal, like texting while driving.  Don’t try that.

 

Multi-tasking is crucial to some professionals, like air traffic controllers or jugglers.  If you think about it, air traffic controllers are also jugglers, but with planes.  I think magicians have the most intense multi-tasking job, since they employ the art of distraction, making you look at their right hand while their left hand pulls a rabbit out of a hat.

 

Some people can’t even single task.  One afternoon, I looked on with disbelief as a car slowly rolled across Broad Street’s two lanes and headed straight for Flic Spa!  I stood motionless as the car veered leisurely to the left, narrowly missing us, and rolled gradually over a parking meter, bending it slowly in half.  The car’s owner couldn’t even single-task putting his car into Park!

 

Here at Flic Spa I ask our staff to focus on the moment, especially when clients are explaining which muscles are bothering them.  Sometimes, though, multi-tasking is called for.  One of the essential features of Lomi-Lomi, the ancient massage from Hawaii, is multiple massage strokes in opposite directions.  It takes a great deal of focus to perform the moves, since the pressure must be applied equally and evenly, and the timing perfectly executed. 

 

One of our therapists was having trouble performing Lomi-Lomi, so Oliver showed him how to dance the hula, the basis for Lomi-Lomi.  The beautiful dance is a series of moves in opposing directions.  Your hips go left, your arms go right.  The Lomi-Lomi massage engages multiple areas of the body at the same time.  Since the sense of touch can’t multitask and can only effectively process one stimulus at a time, the mind relaxes much more quickly during the bait and switch style of Lomi-Lomi.

 

I enjoy the mental focus during my massage sessions.  I like to draw patterns of pressure on my client’s backs, making sure the right side mirrors the left side.  I listen to the music for cues that inspire and balance my strokes: left, left, left; right, right, right.  I look forward to the alpha wave mental state I achieve with regularity, like a self-induced hypnotic spell, knowing that my massage has somehow touched on the periphery of an art form, and focus intently on the giddy expression of my client, grateful for the distraction from their daily stress, and the singular magic that I hope just unfolded.

 

 

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