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Distractions

I wrote down these words a few days ago…

“What are you doing to distract yourself from what you need to be doing?”

I wrote them down and then moved on, leaving them behind.

Until today, when I returned to them.


As you read along, you may think the word “excuses” is more accurate than what I am going to call “distractions.” To that, I say, yes, they are excuses because they excused me from acting, but I think of them more as distractions because they are distracting me from who I really am. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.


Let’s start with this…


I am at the point in my healing journey where I’m dealing with some heavy stuff. My healers remind me to be gentle with myself. I thought I was being gentle. I now realize I wasn’t; I was distracting myself. Gentle would have been doing grounding and protection practices and daily journaling and meditation. Gentle would have been eating well and exercising. Gentle would have been releasing the emotions. Instead of going inward, I went outward. I binge-watched Season 2 of The Wilds, zoned out, ate junky food, skipped my morning and evening routines, and other practices that make me feel safe, grounded, and connected. But it’s ok now because I remember that I am a spiritual person, and I can choose my spiritual practices over distractions whenever I want to.


Next up…


I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot. The pain caused me to give up running for a while, for at least the past six months. Also notable, I have put on over 20 pounds in the last two years. I went from being in the best shape of my life to quite possibly the worst.


Not being able to run shut down all other forms of exercise for me. Not the ability to do them, mind you, but the dedication to them. So I operated under the all-or-nothing principle. If I can’t run, then I can’t work out.


Distraction upon distraction upon distraction.


Here’s the good news - I’ve significantly reduced the pain in my foot thanks to the help of a good friend, so I’m able to run again.


Ready for more distractions?


I can’t run a sub 9:30 mile anymore. If I can’t run as fast as I used to, I guess it doesn’t matter how often I stop or how much of it I walk.

The weight is making it harder for me to run.

I don’t have the time.

The weather isn’t great today.

My earbuds aren’t working properly.


I am a runner, but these distractions make it easy to choose not to run.


This morning when I set out, I felt a tweak in my knee a few strides in. My immediate reaction was, keep going; it will be fine. This might seem like perseverance, but it was a distraction in reality. Fortunately, I was paying attention enough (remember, I asked myself, “what are you doing to distract yourself from what you need to be doing?”) to call BS on myself. To keep going was to create an excuse to stop partway through and even potentially sideline me again due to injury.


I decided in favor of who I am - a runner. So I walked back to the house, threw on a knee brace, put on a kick-ass playlist, and ran a pace just slow enough to run the entire 5K without stopping or walking. I didn’t hit any records today, but I showed up for myself. And I can do it again and again if I choose to. It just requires me to remember who I am and act like her.


One more for you…


I went vegetarian in March. Actually, I went vegan, but a week in, I downshifted. I was ok with that decision. It was a lot to give up all at once, and it’s not uncommon for it to be done in stages. I was a rockstar that first week: whole grains and complex proteins with tons of fresh veggies. I felt great. Then the second week came, and I missed meat. I didn’t give in, but to compensate, I distracted myself. I struggled with meal planning and prep. I opted for onion rings instead of whole grains. Pizza became a staple. It was like if I couldn’t eat meat, I would find excuses to consume as much meatless junk food as I could to make up for it. I haven’t felt great since that first week. I can turn it around now, though, with the decision to remember that I am a healthy person and to act like a healthy person.


You may have noticed that I fall a lot. I get distracted. I check out. Then I have to rally myself and get myself back in the game. I used to chastise myself for it. Now I know that it’s life. Falling and getting back up. Again, and again, and again.


When you don't think you're supposed to fall, it seems easiest to just stop trying.


Keep your end goal in sight. Check in with it from time to time but focus your attention on the here and now. What decision are you making at this moment? Are you choosing to say yes to something good, or are you choosing to distract yourself?


I’m going to go “Sliding Doors” on you for a moment. That movie in the '90s where we got to experience two realities for Gwenyth Paltrow based on her making a train and missing a train.


I woke up this morning. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be, nothing to get up for. So here it is...the first decision of the day…


I’m going to get up and meditate and journal and pray.

I’m going outside on the deck to sit in silence and drink my supercoffee.

I’m taking the dog for a walk.

I’m going for a run.

I’m making the kids French toast for breakfast, but I’ll make myself a protein shake.

I will write for a bit; I got my creative juices flowing with that silence, nature, and movement this morning.

I’m going to plant the flowers and veggies I picked up last weekend and haven’t yet had the chance to plant.

I will eat a healthy lunch, make a good dinner for my family, and drink lots of water today.

I’m going to take some time for myself this afternoon and spend time with my family.

I’m going to tackle the remaining items on my to-do list.

I will perform my grounding and protection exercises before heading into my hypnotherapy session this evening.

I will take a bath, do some yoga, journal, and read before bed tonight.

I will get a good night’s sleep and be ready for another great day tomorrow.


Or…

I’m going to lounge around in bed this morning. I have nowhere to be and nothing to do.

Let me grab my phone while I drink my coffee.

It’s too late now to meditate and journal; I’ll get up early and do it tomorrow.

I’m going to take the dog for a walk.

I guess I better get started on my to-do list. I don’t have time for that run I was planning on.

I will watch a couple of shows I have on my DVR first. It’s Sunday, and I deserve a break.

I’m starving. I’m going to have two donuts and an iced coffee.

I'm going to eat takeout for lunch.

I am so tired today. I'm worn out from this crazy week. I need to rest.

I don’t feel like cooking, so everyone is on their own for dinner.

I’ve been sitting on this couch watching tv all day. I guess I’ll get to that to-do list tomorrow morning before work.

I'll watch some more TV until bed.

Tomorrow is another day.


This is not an exaggeration. I've lived both of these days, and there are 100 different variations in between.


Teeny tiny decisions that seem inconsequential at the moment but add up to living your truth or living your distractions.


We think that our life is dictating the decisions we make, but in reality, our decisions are dictating the life we are living.


It is easy to allow the distractions to take over.


We lament all of those things holding us back, but we carry on with them because giving our attention to the distractions is way easier than living our truth and purpose every day.


We make excuses for skipping out on the stuff that really deserves our attention. Then we don't put two and two together when stuff starts falling apart.


Both the distractions and living our truth require work.


The distractions are comfortable. They take up our time and energy. They drain us, but they are safe. They are known. They are predictable. They don’t scare us.


They don’t challenge us. They don’t expand us. They don’t fulfill us.


As I see it, the difference between the two is fear. Fear of facing our broken pieces and what broke them. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failing. Fear of succeeding. Fear of what others will think. Fear of taking up space. Fear of exposure. Fear of coming undone. Fear of going without. Fear of losing control. Fear of…


Squaring off against your fears is terrifying but empowering. Facing them head-on and telling them you’re going to do it anyway is brave and courageous.


Here’s the important thing to remember. You do not have to jump off a cliff to face your fears or be who you are meant to be. You just need to start with one step, one decision. Then follow it up with another, and then another. Baby steps. Start by saying yes to the things that feel right for you. Trust the timing of your life. Things are presented to you when you are ready. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If it does, go for it.


Each step will bring you closer to yourself.


Look for the distractions. Be brutally honest with yourself. Am I taking care of myself, or am I distracting myself?


Be stronger than your distractions. It’s not as hard as you think. It starts with the tiniest of decisions. What will I do right now to be who I really am?


Until next time...

Michele

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