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  • Writer's pictureViva Sarah Press

Crash course in mindfulness (aka sharing office space with a 12-year old ‘colleague’)

Shortly before the coronavirus epidemic sent us into social distancing isolation, I started to dabble in mindfulness, an art of focusing on the present.

Deep breathing. Focusing. Tuning out.

A few minutes a day of just being.

And then came isolation.

And with isolation came new colleagues. Three of them under age 12.

Working from home is my regular gig.

Working from home with a spouse and three kids has been the ultimate test to my focus and patience.

I am used to working in quiet.

Now, I am working with others shouting into their phones or at their computers.

We are set up around our apartment – I’m still at my desk in the office space. But directly behind me is my 12-year old son. And sometimes, my 10-year old son joins us in the same room.

My two other “new” colleagues – spouse and daughter-- are in the living area or a bedroom.

It is the 12-year old, who sits back-to-back with me, who is best teaching me how to breathe deeply.

On the one hand, it seems he knows we’re sharing the same space as he turns off his camera when I get up to go make coffee for fear that his classmates on Zoom might see his mom walk past.

On the other hand, deep breathing exercises are a must when he’s on the computer.

He says he likes sharing space with me because I work in quiet. His homework atmosphere is rather different.

Sudden shouting outbursts at his computer are unnerving.

Of course, I want him to participate in his Zoom lesson. I do.

But. Deep breath.

These Zoom classes include videos, too.

He listens on full volume. Drowning out the white noise I’m listening to as a means to block his noises out.

My reminders that he has earphones barely make a difference. Even with headphones, I can still hear the recorded voice flying out towards me.

Focus on the present. Deep breath.

He sometimes cackles out loud for no reason.

He reads out his answers (to himself but I can hear him).

Deep breath.

Must stay optimistic that a day will come when he returns to school.

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