Search the Site
Photos
Partner Sites
Monday
Sep092013

No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.

You might wonder at the long title or be puzzled as to what the two have in common.  It wasn't too long ago, last week to be precise, that I would have thought the same thing and argued that two different points were being made.  After a long week-end in NO and a repair session with my chiropractic/homeopathic Dr. Dad, I had an opportunity to rethink the implications of both statements.

 

To give some background for those that might not be familiar with the two quotes, the first one is from the New Testament, Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 and is used by Jesus in the context of a parable about the rich man to illustrate the point that our hearts can't be divided between two interests.

The second was spoken by Jim Elliot as an encouragement to his future bride, Elizabeth Elliot.  If memory serves correctly, they were apart and she was struggling with wanting to see him and he sent that sentence in a letter to exhort her to BE where she was.  The full quote finishes with "Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of GOD."

How it applies to me was that I ended up on the adjustment table wiped out from what I thought was a 7 mile run followed by a day of recording with my brother.  My ankle was bothering me and I was exhausted.  I chalked it up to needing more protein and nutrition now that my runs were getting longer.  My dad did not agree and so he started asking me a series of questions about why I was running, how did I feel about music, and where did the biscotti business and baking fit into the overall picture.  I tried to explain that I was working on making a better schedule that would allow for personal music time, training time, and baking time.  He then asked a question that to me sounded rather inocuous. "Can you listen to music while you're baking?" 

"Of course, that's what I do!  When I'm baking, I'm listening to music, thinking about lyrics.  Same thing when I'm running or practicing."  I started to mentally pat myself on the back for being efficient with my time and was brought up short when he replied, "There's your problem.  You're conflicted and distracted.  When you're doing one, you're thinking about the other." and then to add insult to injury, he concluded with Jesus' quote from Matthew.

"What?? That's not fair. It has nothing to do with money or GOD." 

"You're right.  It doesn't.  It does have to do with your focus and your presence in the activity that you have in front of you."

The Jim Elliot quote popped through my brain and the proverbial light bulb turned on to illuminate and bring understanding.  It would have been one of those "smh" expressions or text messages since this is a point I, as a musician and music teacher, had learned and taught from the very first lesson.  Our oft repeated instruction was "stay at a task only as long as you can focus."  So, how had I gotten away from that?  Well, in this day and age of multi-tasking and myriads of distractions it's quite easy.  A lot of press is being made about the dangers of texting and driving so much that it is starting to overshadow the "don't drink and drive" message.  Bottom line of both is don't be distracted when you're driving. I would go so far as to say, this is a symptom of a deeper issue that I'll call "distracted living" and I'm just as guilty of it as the next person.  Cell phones, facebook, pinterest, movies, games, books, radio, to name a few, all pull on our focus and attention.  Even if we're not connected to our fbook page or texting on the phone when we're out somewhere or with someone, chances are our brains and/or thoughts are roaming far from the present situation at hand.  A very sobering illustration is a cell phone with a bunch of apps running at the same time.  We all know what happens in those situations, unless we go in and close the ones open in the background, we'll drain the battery and run out of power!

If you're like me, you've gotten accustomed to several "apps" running at the same time to the point of being unaware. Just as an experiment, it's one I give to parents of beginning students, look at your watch, note the time, read this sentence and maybe the next one and then when you have a thought different from what you're reading, stop and look at the watch.  Surprising isn't it?  If you're still reading and haven't had a wandering thought then you have the ability to live and be in the moment.  Another practical experiment is to observe all the people outwardly giving their attention to the person giving the sermon on Sunday during the service, and then ask one or two of them what the main points of the talk were. 

It takes effort to "be all there"!  I've had practice doing it and it is still hard.  It takes effort and will power to corral the thoughts of your brain from wandering when you're listening to somebody, or involved in an activity that is famliar to you. After the session with my dad, I purposed to start practicing "being all there".  My brother would be working on a track and I'd make an effort to listen, really listen, and to my chagrin, more often then not, I'd catch my thoughts wandering to other things and I'd have to refocus and look back at the screen and endeavor to listen to what we had recorded.

We've been told that multi-tasking is efficient and allows us to get more done during the day.  In some scenarios this is true.  When doing laundry, there's no reason why another job can't be done while waiting for the wash to finish or the clothes to dry.  However, when involved in correspondence or conversation or detailed projects, we might find that we're more efficient and effective if we begin to "be all there" until we reach a stopping point. I wondered what would happen if I could be all in the moment of whatever I was doing.  Could I improve my running by being aware of the rhythm of my stride paired with the rhythm of my breathing?  What would happen if I really gave each batch of biscotti, from start to finish, my full attention? Would it be possible to have continued tone improvement by really listening to each note of a song I was playing and being aware of the physical aspects and motions of playing?  I don't know, but I'm certainly going to try to serve just one master and to "be" in each moment in which I find myself.

A friend made a comment recently that he was really busy.  It reminded me of an article I had read not long before about "busy" being the new idol for people.  I replied back that a hamster is busy too when he's running on the wheel, but it doesn't mean he gets anything done or goes anywhere.  Another popular description that I've heard lately, and probably even said is "hard work" or "work hard" and yes it could be said that the verse, "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." could be interpreted as working hard.  The word "might" does have connotations of strength and power.  I would offer the counter point that someone can work hard at something and not be effective or be working efficiently.  Let's look at "might" in the context of the two quotes in the title and use it in reference to focus.  "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it will all your focus."  Now what is it implying?  It's not a far stretch then to say the quote, "Wherever you are, be all there."

I hope this article has inspired you to take inventory of the "apps" in your life that are open and running and to make an effort to "work with all your focus" and "be all there" with your family, friends, and work.

Resist the collective conscious to "be busy".  Be productive, work efficiently and effectively and just "be".

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (15)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Lovely Web site, Preserve the fantastic job. Thanks for your time.
  • Response
    Response: Erik Pitoniak
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Response: Frank Dellaglio
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Response: Ebon Talifarro
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Response: Dr. Rashmi Patel
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Response: vigrx plus reviews
    Esther Tyree's My Music Ventures - My Music Blog - No One Can Serve Two Masters or Wherever You Are, Be All There.
  • Response
    Esther Tyree
  • Response
    Response: baby sleeping
    Esther Tyree
  • Response
    Response: click this
    Esther Tyree
  • Response
    Esther Tyree
  • Response
    Esther Tyree
  • Response
    Esther Tyree
  • Response
    Esther Tyree

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« When your life and actions radically change to the point you don't recognize yourself! | Main | It's not going to look how we think it should »