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The Joy of Distractions

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Distractions, they are everywhere. I want to paint, but the dishes are spilling out of the sink. I want to paint but the dog needs to be walked. I want to paint but I can’t actually get into my studio as the floor is littered with tubes of paint, papers (catalogues, I don’t need anything, but I can’t seem to throw you out the minute I pick you up from the mailbox) and an unfinished cup of tea from yesterday’s afternoon session. Am I lazy? No, I’m a procrastinator – should have done dishes before going to bed, catalogues should never have made it past the trash and the tea, hmm, I got distracted!

Distractions can be great thing.

Despite the excuses, I will paint but I won’t finish it for a while and that’s okay. Why? Because life gets in the way and as a mother of two teens and a tween, I’m okay with it. I don’t carry my phone with me everywhere, I chat to people when I’m supposed to be running errands (as a writer, you must be a good listener), and I have pockets of “I’ll get back to this” messes around my house and garden. You wouldn’t necessarily notice this if you step in my house, because I’m a master of disguise. Thank goodness for the laundry room floor, safely hiding behind a closed door. Always a handy option unless your super tidy neighbor pops in when her dryer unexpectedly ends its life.

About a year ago, one of my dearest friends and I sat down for an unplanned chat that inadvertently saw me change gear on my high-speed ride through life. He told me to meditate. Hmm, seemed an unlikely past time for my chaotic self but it works. Am I still distracted? Absolutely, but I am mindful of the moments when I veer off course. It’s possible to retrain the busy mind, I found this through Ten Percent Happier, the app he put me onto.

Instead of feeling a sense of failure every time distractions come along, I now acknowledge the moment and commit to return to finish what I started. Distractions can be wonderful things. Those dishes didn’t get done last night because I was reading to my son, and we fell asleep. The catalogue has images of inspiration for gifts I may eventually buy friends. The teacup is half full as my six-year-old neighbor just had to show me his new trick on the trampoline. As for the dog, she beats the need to paint and there will be at least a five-minute stop by the creek so I can feel the sun on my face, listen to the water and be thankful for the distraction.

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