Illuminated Parenting

Distraction: The Root of All Evil

Distraction is where it’s at in our culture today. We love our distractions. Wouldn’t give them up if our life depended on it and, much to our dismay, it seemingly does. We hang on to bad eating habits, the need for the latest thing, or to have a drink or four or ten on Friday night, as well as the chronic immobilization of watching various electronic devices, hand-held or otherwise. There is a part of us that wants to stop indulging, sometimes very much so, but it feels like Breaking News is everywhere as it is on my local station, every single night, at the start of every newscast.

Have you ever wondered how all these distractions became so powerful? Why we seem so helpless? The answer is simple. It’s to avoid hearing what goes on in our heads, our hearts. The clanging of our beliefs and stories about our lives and the world around us is loud and must be buried under immediate mood altering actions or exciting and scary distractions.

Driven To Distraction

Our culture helps us to believe the myth and hold on to the distractions believing the world is better if we climb the success ladder with whiter teeth and a sporty car. The media myth is that the world is divided into Us and Them, a Story that keeps viewers tuning in as they compare how We are doing against The Enemy.  The Dr Phil, Bachelorette, and Sunday morning political shows, to name just a few, keep reminding us how vulnerable and messed up we are, the feeling of wellbeing out of our reach. In the scheme of history, this line of thinking is one that arose with mass communication, advertising, and need for profit in all sectors of society.

A Way Out

What happens if focus is changed from distraction to awareness? This is the key to unlocking the hold your automatic beliefs have on you, leading to happiness and the enjoyment of life. When we let go of our distractions, if we don’t eat that donut, if we shut off the Internet, or go home to a quiet house on Friday night, we have the opportunity to hear The Story that has been governing our lives.

Here is a way to listen to yourself, your Story and learn about why you do what you do.

  1. Create some time to be quiet, off by yourself even if for just a few minutes.
  2. Breathe deeply, becoming aware of tension held in your body. Shake it lose. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold for a few seconds and breath out slowly through your mouth.
  3. Often, not having distractions shows the anxiety, sadness or fear we are attempting to ignore. This is linked to what you think you know about life and The Story you learned as a child that feels bad to you. Know that The Story is created from what you came to believe about past events and ideas you learned from others. While the experiences happened, often the beliefs you created from the experiences are mistaken. Approach listening to your Story with the idea that the beliefs you created may not be true.
  4. Write down what comes to you without censoring or worrying about how you write it. This is just for you unless you choose to share it with someone you trust. Only write as much as feels doable. No need to push yourself.
  5. When you have completed writing, take a few more deep breaths and congratulate yourself on not falling victim to the need for constant distractions.

A Very Important Question (or two…or three…)

You have accomplished a worthy task when you allow yourself to hear snippets of Your Story. When you write them down, you have the opportunity to look at the beliefs more deeply and ask yourself a very important question – Is it true?

Also just as important are the following questions –
What are the Stories your children are creating right now?
What are you teaching your child about how the world works?
Are these Stories true? How do you know?
Do others you trust see your Story differently?

Letting yourself hear your Story, challenge that Story, and create a new one that feels better and is empowering, allows you to move forward in life with a centeredness you’ve never known before.  Brave the world of your own thoughts and feelings to uncover your beauty and potential, right now, in this moment.

Related post: “What is the Story?

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