Two minutes to open your eyes

Two minutes. That’s the length of time my electric toothbrush vibrates. Thirty seconds for each quadrant.

And every night until recently it has seemed like an eternity. Why? Because I couldn’t do anything else while I was brushing my teeth. I couldn’t read a book, though I tried. I couldn’t pluck my eyebrows. I definitely couldn’t chat on the phone. I couldn’t even pull down the comforter on my bed, something I tried to do and then ended up dripping toothpaste drool on my pillow.

I couldn’t multitask.

I used to be a tooth-brushing multi-tasker. Brushing while wiping out the sink. Brushing while doing crunches. Or just brushing quickly so I could get on to more important things. Brush. Brush. Maybe thirty seconds, tops. That’s probably why I have a mouthful of crowns and root canals. But there it is.

I’m facing a hard fact. I had probably always done this.

Either I was rushed to get out the door — kids to school, me to work — or I was simply exhausted and ready to fall into bed at the end of the day. Brush. Brush.

There. Done.

Sadly, or maybe happily, I am just figuring out that I Brush Brush my way through most days.

Brush Brush. My new phrase for the Rush Rush that is my world. I’m so used to rushing through a lot of stuff every single day in the name of efficiency, multi-tasking, productivity — whatever. I didn’t learn it from my mother. She has never been a rushing brusher or rushing anything. Somewhere between pigtails, braces, labor pains, carpools, jelly sandwiches, and gray hairs, I became a do-it-quickly kind of gal. Maybe it was when I started my first teaching job or when my kids were young. Maybe I’m just programmed this way. I don’t know.

But I do know that I have worn it proudly like a sparkling tiara, my rushing, my busy-ness. My Brush Brush. Look at my busy and productive life. Look how I can multi-task, juggling all my vocations. Look at me.

Even if I’m the only one looking at me. Ha.

So yeah. Look at me. I’ve got an expensive mouthful of dental work to show for all this silliness.

More importantly, in the midst of all this Rush Rush Brush Brush, I’ve been partially blind. I’ve missed some preciously serene moments that will never return. (Ouch. That really hurts.)

But I’m out to make a change. (Well, not the dental work – can’t do much about what’s already there.) I’m out to change just a little bit of the silly busy-ness or busy silliness that has been my life.

I am purposefully trying to single task.

I am purposefully trying to open my eyes.

And it all started with my electric toothbrush habit. A single task, a time where I focus only on angling the vibrating bristles at the gum line just so. I focus on each tooth, all sides. I’m paying attention to the way the brush tickles my tongue if I get it too close. Sometimes I close my eyes and marvel at this gift of electricity, this powered tooth-brushing invention. This gift of fresh running water, toothpaste, a clean sink. This gift of a dentist and a hygienist who encourage me and watch over my teeth and gums. Thank you, Lord.

And then the two minutes are up.

My gums are happier. My dentist is happier. And I think my husband notices it too. But that’s another post.

So join me. Really. Even if you are busier than all get-out. Especially if you are busier than all get-out.

Choose one thing that frustrates you because it seems to take forever. You don’t really have time to do that one thing. Or you don’t want to make time to do that one thing. So, sometimes you don’t do it at all. Most of the time you give it a lick and a promise.

It might be a little thing. Flossing. Washing out those quart-size plastic bags. Crunches. Making the bed nicely.

It might be a really big thing. Reading one more story to your sleepy toddler. Sitting quietly. Playing one more round of Candyland. Praying.

And then set a timer and do it for two minutes. Or do it for whatever time it takes.

And the key? Don’t do something else at the same time.

Oh, and open your eyes.

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Mark 10:51

Can you even relate to this? Are you good at keeping your eyes open? Or do you need help like me?


21 thoughts on “Two minutes to open your eyes

  1. Eva Butler says:

    Yes, multitasking is a common fenamenan with me! I have been trying to do toe and ankle lifts while brushing. I think washing my face at night is the same problem. It needs to be quick, I am tired and I am not multitasking!

    Good point Beth; this Dakota girl needs to pull back on the reins a little and slow down. Thank you for the reminder my friend.

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks for reminding us to enjoy the moment. I sometimes try to remember my children’s birthday and realize that I was so busy rushing to serve cake or wipe up spills, that I missed taking the time to marvel at how they were growing and changing.

  3. Glenda says:

    Enjoyed your blog. I find myself frequently in the “brush, brush. ..rush, rush” of life. … thank you for the reminder to slow down. … I crave the sense of calm that comes from slowing down to savor life and enjoying the little blessings that come in the spontaneous undefined moments of day to day living …living with my eyes open. … yes I am a multi Tasker ….. perhaps I will rethink the way I brush. … the laundry can wait. … one quadrant at a time.

    • Beth Foreman says:

      Thanks for commenting, Glenda. I’ve not met too many women who are NOT multi-tasters, have you? I’m with you. I crave that calmness. And I love the way you said it — “the spontaneous undefined moments.” That’s beauty. That’s a gift.

  4. Judy says:

    My eyes are wide open, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking at the right thing. And yes, I multitask every chance I get! Can’t help it. Great blog Beth!

  5. Margaret says:

    Great post! I always try to multi task when I’m brushing my teeth… And while I try doing other things too. It’s that snare of efficiency 😉 Good reminder to single task, focus on the moment.

  6. Dawn says:

    Relish the moment in the mundane task of the day? Yes, I do need to remember this blog! I will also take away how your thoughts could lead to thankfulness for each task.
    Great blog, Beth. Thanks for sharing.

    • Beth Foreman says:

      Yes, the thankfulness is so much a part of this. And thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dawn. I look forward to lots of “conversations” with you, my Colorado friend.

  7. Barb conti says:

    Thanks for your insight , thoughts and yes even humor. We do need to be reminded to slow down and appreciate everything. You are right it was very hard appreciating all those amazing moments when we were young;multitasking seemed like a necessity. I needed the reminder to slow down, focus, and feel blessed…enjoying peacefulness and maybe spreading some calmness too – I will try. Thanks for a great read. Love ya

  8. Marilyn Stuckwisch says:

    Thanks to Kay, I learned you are doing a blog. Sign me up, my friend! My scenario: stayed up too late! Brush teeth? Not tonight. Floss? Are you kidding?? Next morning … ugh! Not worth THAT! Whoa girl. No wonder sleep doesn’t come quickly! “Be still …” Your blog has given me something to think about and the desire to change!

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