Distractions are everywhere.
All sorts of things can distract you from your path. Some of these are good things – family, friends, fun activities…and some are less so – work, bills, anger, frustration.
Accepting and balancing the distractions while remaining on the path can be really hard to do.
I often suffer from something I refer to as ADOS – Attention Deficit “Ooooooooooooooooooooh, SHINY!” disorder (NOT my phrase, by the way – I have borrowed it from a friend or two). I’ll be going along, doing my thing, and then…Hey, this’ll be fun! And I am distracted.
The key to being ok when distracted is to know when a distraction might be beneficial – and when it might be detrimental. And then, from there, handling matters accordingly.
How can a distraction be beneficial? Because sometimes the distraction will lead you somewhere new. Or it might show you something you have been missing. Or it may open up whole new avenues along the path that you had no idea were there.
And more than that – a distraction may prove to be a need to change the path you are on. Sometimes these distractions show that while you are moving along your path, your focus is too tight, and you might miss something equally if not more important. So a distraction helps you to see what this is, and move on from it.
As stated previously – the path will shift. It will jump. It will unexpectedly turn. And sometimes that’s precisely what a distraction is – a bend in the road. A left turn when you thought you were moving straight.
Sometimes distractions are simply a change to recharge the battery. Consciously walking the path can be very taxing mentally and emotionally. Sometimes a distraction is exactly what we need to reset, charge up, and feel stronger – better – wiser. It provides a moment to sharpen our position, and come back to the path more determined and more focused than before.
Some distractions, though, are detrimental to the process. When work just drags down your mood, your attitude, your hope. When someone is doing something that upsets you. When the distraction takes you off the path for too long, and causes you to lose it. These distractions get in the way, and block you from your path.
How do you identify a good distraction from a bad distraction?
Easy. How does it make you feel?
If the distraction makes you feel good, makes you feel content, joyful, happy – it is probably a good distraction. If it makes you feel energized, it is a good distraction. If it makes you feel awake, alive, alert – it’s good.
If the distraction, however, makes you feel depressed, sad, angry, flustered, frustrated – that’s bad. Any negative feeling you are experiencing is detrimental to walking your path. Again – a shout out to Yoda: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Too true.
In my eleventh post, I explained ways to deal with the loss of the path. And these can readily be applied to dealing with detrimental distractions. They may also prove beneficial to exploring the validity of positive distractions, too.
Life is not meant to be a simple, singular path. Pathwalking is not about finding and taking only one path – it is about making choices, it is about living life rather than letting life live you. Hence why distractions can be both good and bad. But they certainly should not be ignored.
This is the thirteenth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.
PS – Thirteen is one of my lucky numbers! Welcome to the 13th week of 2012!