“I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment”
- Hilaire Belloc – Anglo-French Writer/Historian
I was presented this quote for the first time today and the more I read it the more I question it. At first I really liked what this quote was saying. We tend to be easily distracted, as a matter of fact we often look for distractions.When we are distracted we do not feel as though we have to look directly in the mirror, we don’t have to face the music, we don’t have to deal with that which we know needs to be dealt with.
What at first appears to be a very sensible quote loses its sensibility the more I digest it. It is the duality of the quote that is what finally does not sit well with me. Is it the quote or is it my interpretation of the quote that bothers me? When I first read this quote I discerned that the intent was that to wander and be distracted was less fulfilling then to travel and be without distractions. One could come to the conclusion that to be distracted is to be off purpose and to be void of fulfillment.
This is where I don’t agree. It is too easy to say that we should not be distracted, that we should always be focused and to be focused is the path to our fulfillment. There is an intellectual part of me that wants to agree with always being focused means always being on purpose and it is through focus that we achieve our goals and our purpose. It is my spirit however that says that distraction can lead to focus and that to focus we sometimes need to allow for distractions in our journey.
It is not that distractions are bad or good, it is more about understanding our distractions and asking who/what is mastering whom/what? I agree that we can allow distractions to overtake our life and in doing so we throw a veil on our reality, one that will inevitably be removed at some point or we can choose to use our distractions as times to open the aperture of our soul to receive rather than to avoid that which comes our way.
Another way to look at this quote is that to travel is with purpose, we follow the map, we know our destination, we even may know some short cuts and at the end of the day we will accomplish that which we plan for. To wander on the other hand is to go off the beaten path, to explore and discover. It is often when I am wandering that I have by best revelations, my most creative moments and my greatest discoveries! It is often though my wandering that I understand the travel I want to embark on next.
This is what I mean by saying that wandering, i.e. distraction can lead us to traveling, i.e. being on purpose.
It is important to be wary of being mastered by distractions for one can become lost in distractions however our journey depends on wandering at points, blazing new paths and creating our own path for our journey. In the end it is all about awareness!
Be aware of your wandering and your travel and recognize and allow distractions as needed while at the same time not becoming so distracted that you lose your purpose. Understand that our journey is a sweet mixture of wanderings and travels and that each is part of our purpose and that to choose one over the other is to miss part of this incredible journey!
Here is hoping that in my wanderings and travels that our paths intercede and we are aware enough to recognize the light in each other!
A powerful quote to remind us to maintain our balance and not to become a slave to distractions.
“The sound shivers through the walls, through the table, through the window frame, and into my finger. These distraction-oholics. These focus-ophobics. Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure your fully absorbed … and this being fed, it’s worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what’s in your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world”
- Chuck Palahniuk – American Freelance Jounalist