The Ponder Effect | What are all the ways I distract myself?
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What are all the ways I distract myself?

Last week, we co-pondered the question, Am I showing up for my life? I have found that question to be hugely valuable in my pursuit of an intentional life. When really digging into it, another question arose for me: What is the opposite of showing up? Not what prevents us from showing up necessarily but what is the opposite action from showing up. I jotted down a few thoughts (which are by no means comprehensive):

Withdrawal. (Physically retreating from others and from life.)
Inauthenticity. (Emotionally retreating from others and from the vulnerability required to truly connect.)
Self-centeredness. (Bringing everything back to ourselves in our minds, in our words, in our actions.)
Distraction. (Directing our attention somewhere else.)

It was this last one that really got me thinking. We tend to think of distraction as bad, as the evil that stands in the way of the presence we so desperately seek. And yet we need distraction. Distraction gives our brain a much-needed break. Used wisely, distraction can enable us to show up more fully. In this way, an antonym to showing up becomes precisely what enables it. (I love a paradox.)

From that comes this week’s question: What are all the ways I distract myself? If we make a list together, what is on the list? That’s PART A. And if we then analyze that list, what do we notice? This is PART B. Are there some things that are inherently “good” and others that are inherently “bad”? Are some things (or most things) okay in moderation? Is my “good” someone else’s “bad” or vice versa? What can I learn from that?

And, ultimately, what is the take-away? What distractions—and what level of those distractions—serve me and what don’t? How can I take this pondering and use it to effect change in my own life?

Share your thoughts [All posts are 100% anonymous]

2 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    October 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I distract myself with:
    pinterest
    magazines
    wine
    running
    reading
    food
    cleaning

    I think the important thing to ask myself is, why am I seeking distraction? Is it avoidance or is it escapism? If it’s avoidance, it might be a problem. If it’s just that I want to get away for a bit, that seems natural. I am a big believer in everything in moderation. Too much wine is unhealthy. Too much exercise is unhealthy. Too much screen time is unhealthy. And on and on. But life is also about pleasure, and sometimes the distractions are parts of that pleasure. Maybe they aren’t “distractions” at all but essential ways of showing up themselves for the potential joy in life.

  • Anonymous

    October 11, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I am late to the conversation because I have been thinking about this question since Sunday. I am not sure I fully understand but this is what I have dug out of my thoughts. I distract myself through procrastination, interruption and just not joining in/participating and those can be considered “bad”. Although not joining in can be choosing my priorities. Time alone, exercise and trying to center myself daily with prayer are “distractions” that enable me to “show up.”
    Magazines and 1st dibs are differnet distractions. Delicious distractions. Sirens that steal from us the one thing we can’t get back.
    For a little bit anyway this questions will make me more aware of how and why I am spending my time..