Interruption

Max tends to be a bit of an interruption in my life.

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For instance, when I sit down in the evening to watch TV or read, he often starts pleading to go outside and I have to pause what I am doing to open the door for him. Or, when I lay on the couch for a few minutes after a busy day, he quickly comes to try to play (for some reason he is never content just to join me). Even as I write this entry, he is letting me know he wants to go outside and then come back inside and then receive some attention.

As frustrating as these little interruptions are, I really can’t blame Max for them, because he doesn’t understand what I am doing, and if I were him, I’d probably do the same.

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But Max provides an even bigger, more consistent level of interruption in my life. I have to be sure to structure my day around feeding and walking him at appropriate times. Such structure means that I cannot stay at work or stay out with friends super late without having taken care of Max.

If I do have a lot of plans all day, I have to interrupt those plans at least for a little while to make sure Max is cared for. I have to interrupt the flow of my (often over-busy) life to do the simple work of feeding, walking, and spending time with Max.

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Sometimes, this interrupted living is very hard. I can get immersed in what I am doing, or exciting opportunities can pop up unexpectedly. But then I have to be mindful of how long I will be gone and sometimes have to turn things down.

But, the more I live a life interrupted by Max, the more I see the value in it. Interruptions are not inherently bad, especially interruptions of love and care.

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Max has taught me, through his interruptions, that life is more than being consumed by a busy schedule. Life is more than going from one exciting thing to the next. Life is also about having that busyness interrupted for moments of sharing love and caring for another being.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have an incredibly busy life. And I even find quite a bit of value in all the things I rush around doing. But Max has taught me that the interruptions are valuable too. He has taught me to pay closer attention to the people and things that derail me and cause me to invest my attention in a different way. He has taught me to be more intentional about being present in those interruptions and allowing them to be moments when I really connect with others.

Max has taught me to view interruptions not as detractors from full life, but rather as meaningful additions to full life.

So, thank you Max for interrupting me (though I am not always thankful in the moment). Thank you for helping me experience the value of interrupting my busy day to share quality time with those whom I can love and for whom I can care.

 

P.S. This is one of those lessons I have learned in various ways from various people the past couple of weeks. So, I also give credit to my boss and coworkers and all the people in my life who interrupt me in helpful ways and teach me the value of attending to interruptions.

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Freeing the Mind

Max and I go on a lot of walks. (This is probably not news if you have read some of this blog before).

There are many reasons we go on these walks, but one side effect has become more and more apparent. As we walk, my mind becomes clearer and I am able to think of things in ways I hadn’t been able to all day.

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I often sit in front of my computer for hours and grow frustrated with a lack of productivity and creativity. And then I take Max for a walk and suddenly what I couldn’t come up with in the hours before immediately pops into my head.

Max has taught me the very valuable lesson of freeing my mind.

He has taught me that sometimes I just need to give my brain a break from the strain I put it through. I need to tear my eyes away from the computer screen that is desperate to fill my brain with useless information.

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Moreover, he has taught me that I need to let my mind roam free. I sometimes come up with the best ideas when I am not trying to answer a specific question or address a particular problem. When I let my mind roam, I engage in a type of childlike creativity in which my mind can do some exciting new things.

But too often I constrain my brain and keep it trapped in a gridlock of constant work. I understand that people operate differently and some people need strict frameworks to think through things and come up with great ideas. Obviously, I am not that kind of thinker.

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But what seems to apply across the board is the value of not overworking brains. Instead, it can be beneficial to indulge in a freedom of thought that eases the overworked, overstressed state I think many of us find ourselves in far too frequently.

Often, Max literally begs me away from my home desk in order to go for a walk. And though I begrudgingly take him outside, I soon realize how inspiring and empowering it can be to have that small break and allow my mind the rest and freedom it needs to operate at full capacity. I could even say the same thing for my body, which also needs rest and leisure in order to do its best work.

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Allowing my mind this kind of break also helps me to see things from other perspectives. Max has taught me that when social media sites keep feeding me the same shortsighted lines over and over, I need to step away and both let my brain digest all that it has been taking in and get a bigger picture of the world.

Max has taught me that a mind at ease can be much more productive and have much better quality thoughts than a mind pushed down a narrow path as fast as it can go.

 

So thank you Max for teaching me how to free my mind and for forcing me outside where I can experience a quickening breeze of refreshing thought.