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  • Linda L. Fitch

The Day of a Thousand Distractions

My husband sometimes refers to a rough night of sleep or a red-eye flight as a night of a thousand naps.

For me, today has been the day of a thousand distractions.

You’ve been here too, I'm sure: You have a goal (or a project), and you’ve cleared your calendar as best you can to create space to accomplish it. And yet… the distractions still jump in to lead you somewhere else. You put your big plans and well intentions on pause – or at least into slow motion.

And it seems the bigger or more important the goal, the longer the pause. Or, in my case, the thousands (or more) of distractions.

Maybe your goal/project is something related to work, or a project around the house like purging out all the old that should have gone years ago. For me, it was diving in to week two of the writing retreat my soul has been wanting to do for years.

Days one and two were exciting, feeling the accomplishment and movement in the long-awaited project. Day three it started. The distractions. They felt as if they had lined up in a row and had just been waiting for me. Like a thousand little ducks.

Of course, these aren’t life changing things, but the everyday mundane like dishes left in the sink from last night’s dinner, laundry to be folded, bills to pay, wood for the stove (yes, it’s still snowing in Utah), chicken to be defrosted, squash to be cut and cooked for dinner, and a kitchen countertop in need of a good cleaning..

Now this is where it gets interesting: Observe your internal process when something pulls you off center. For me, I began by blaming my husband for not doing all the above things, which led me to feeling like I wasn’t being supported, which led to my holding frustration with him personally when he got home and turned on the television, much too loud – of course – for me to concentrate.

By the fourth day, I could finally step back far enough and laugh at myself and love my sweet husband, who was walking on egg shells around my crazy nonverbal communication from the day before. Looking back, I realized all the other nonsense distractions that I had woven into day three, like ordering that PRANA swimsuit I had to have that day because of their sale, researching the best lightweight tent with the idea of purchasing one before the REI sale ended in five days, and another hour or more trying to figure out why my scanning function stopped on the printer.

The key is not to get stuck in how “bad” your pattern is, but to stay the observer and laugh about the experience of being human.

A few days later, I received a call from a good friend who was in town briefly and wanted to visit. And you know what? I could say YES without feeling like I was betraying myself or sacrificing time I’d set aside for me. It wasn’t an either her or my soul. And I could say YES to the six-hour class I wanted to take in Salt Lake with a wonderful teacher because my intuition said it was important to go (and it was).

So, the next time the thousand tiny distractions rear their little heads – and they will – observe your process. Step in. When you get caught by whatever your process of pause or slow motion is (blame, guilt, anger, drama, illness), step to Observer. Laugh. Actually laugh a lot, since it allows you to breath. Hold the duality of either/or in your heart without having to choose. Hold them both sacred, and then say YES to life.

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