I brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush. It runs for two minutes and every thirty seconds there is an obvious pause in its vibration to signal it’s time to move on to another area of your mouth. It’s supposed to help you clean your teeth equally instead of spending too much time on some and too little time on others. [Please bear with me; I promise this post is about more than the detailed workings of my toothbrush.]
Recently, however, I’ve been missing the not-so-subtle change in vibration. The toothbrush shuts off and I’m not done. The first time it happened I was brushing my teeth while making coffee; I assumed I missed one of the pauses because I was doing too much at once. After this happened several consecutive times, however, I grew slightly frustrated.
How am I not getting this? I wondered. Am I too focused on other factors that are causing me to miss more obvious signals? Am I trying to focus on so much that I am missing everything? Am I thinking that I’m being mindful when in actuality I’m oblivious? Have I made any progress at all???
Then it finally hit me. The battery in my toothbrush needed to be replaced. I couldn’t feel the change in vibration because it was practically non-existent.
I complicated this simple issue by reading way too deeply into it. As a result, I had an abundance of information, yet couldn’t reach a solution because I was incapable of separating what was useful from the clutter. I also created a narrative which caused me to doubt myself and the progress I’ve made, further derailing any potential for meaningful action. But, when I finally stood quietly in front my bathroom mirror while I brushed my teeth instead of simultaneously scrolling through my Instagram feed, I understood the situation and just how simple the solution was.
Does this add up, or am I stretching this “metaphor” beyond what it really is? Whatever, I don’t need your validation [except that I definitely do]!