Distractions. Our lives are full of ‘em. At least mine is… is yours? Open the thesaurus to distraction. It might read: Cell phones, work, movies, tv shows, food, new toys, family members, books, lovers, numerous dinner dates, surfing the web, shopping… need I go on? We keep ourselves so occupied on everything external. Why? If no distractions, all we have is ourselves. Whoa – now that can be scary, depending on who your self is! Yes, some distractions are healthy at times, a needed “break” from the stress we may face. We also need interaction with the world we live in. Other times, distractions can become addictions, blocks from our spirit or, well, distractions from attending to our deeper needs. My soul is craving attention & rest. My mind wants to reach for something outside myself. Sound familiar? My plan - A Daily Distraction Detox. Wanna join me?
First we have to recognize our worst distractions. Mine is my cell phone. I think I’m addicted. I had to take my phone to the store for a repair issue and the kind serviceman took it to the back office for an expert opinion. I was sitting there thinking/panicking, what if my phone doesn’t return to me. What if I didn’t have a phone? My heart started racing and immediately, I looked for relief - I’d just buy another one! But what about my contacts? My calendar. Oh Lord, I haven’t backed it up in months! That thing has been so faithful, so THERE for me, and SUCH a distraction, I don’t know what I’d do without it. You mean I used to take road trips without it? What did I do with all of that time? You mean I woke up without looking at my phone for a text message or cute little reminder noises? It’s my internet, my contact with the world, my music, my photo gallery – it stays beside me at night, always travels with me… Hang on – am I having a RELATIONSHIP with my phone?? I think I am. And if that phone were a man, it would most certainly be classified as an unhealthy relationship. CODE RED: I need a daily detox from my phone!
We all know that time to ourselves is healthy. Meditation brings centeredness. Prayer offers peace and even reduces blood pressure. Walking in nature is relaxing. A long bath in total silence can restore our spirit. But my question: Why aren’t we all doing these things everyday? I hear parents yearn for more alone time. I see business executives pull their hair out to just a minute in the office alone. People pop pills to find some mental relief. And yet, at the next available opportunity, the mom is booking a luncheon with a girlfriend, the executive is filling the hour after work with drinks, the dad is lining up a night with the boys to play poker and on and on it goes. Saturday is for shopping & laundry, Sunday is church, brunch and family visits, any free time is on the phone or mapquest to line up the next place… can we just STOP for a second? I know the next question: But When?
My favorite time to Detox from Distractions is first thing in the morning. Just give yourself 10 minutes. When you open your eyes, DON’T MOVE. Lay there. And if you can’t open your eyes because the dog will know you’re up, or your kids will start calling, then leave your eyes closed!! Start the day with the purest sense of yourself. This is a precious time. Your body has rejuvenated and, if you can catch yourself before your mind starts working, there is a connection to spirit in this moment. Stay with that. Notice how good the bed feels. Smile. Pray. Follow your breath. Think of all you have to be grateful for. And most importantly, listen to yourself. What do you need today? Aside from the phone, the schedule, the groceries, the lists…what do YOU need? If nothing else, it will allow you to tune in and recognize that there is a spirit inside you living this life. Slowly, you will be pulled to attend to that spirit. Allow this time to restore you. To honor YOU! If the morning doesn’t work, do this before going to bed. Or on your lunch break. It doesn’t matter when, as long as you can do it fully. Replace a shopping spree by sitting outside with nature. Say no to someone’s idea of what you SHOULD be doing, and fill in that time by soaking in the tub. It may be uncomfortable at first. It may feel like you are missing something or being selfish, but the truth is, you’ll be missing something if you don’t tend to yourself.
Now that I’ve distracted you for a good 10 minutes… I hope you find time to detox from the external affairs that become unhealthy. My cell phone withdrawal only lasted for a few minutes, and the time to myself is so much more peaceful… I hope you have similar results!