Does this sound familiar?

…’I wonder what the weather in Norway is at the moment?’
…’Ooooh new email…’
…’Hey Siri….how do you spell “fastidious?”
…”What time is school pick up?”

So, the subject at hand this week is…
‘…Oh who’s messaging me…?
‘God, I shouldn’t of drunk those 3 glasses of wine last night…what’s in the fridge?’
‘Jeez, I’m fat and Christmas isn’t even here yet…’
‘I’m going to get fit in 2020…’
‘God this ice-cream is delicious…’
‘Oh my god (looking at Instagram) who wears Crocs!? 

Ok, this week theme…oh it’s so nice outside…should go for a walk…but I’m too hungover…might watch a little Netflix….ooooh Season 3 of The Crownwhere’s my phone
….sh!t….school pick up….

This article is, if you haven’t already guessed, is about DISTRACTION.

With meditation and mindfulness now the activity du jour, and soon to be the new
LuLuLemon hyper-consumer “health” business come ‘cult’ that will take over, and further distract the western world. Breeding new trends, distill ‘whats hot, what’s not’ for the gullible consumer such as funky leggings that can be worn to the gym, pilates & yoga studio, and as well as a form of (smart) casual wear.
I’m sure we’ll soon see the equivalent meditation & mindfulness attire and accessories to ‘bling-out’ your state of bliss…what that could be I’m not sure,…maybe knit-your-own-sisal-mindfulness-matt (ka-ching…you read it here first)

Now, nothing wrong with any other of that…my mindfulness rug patent application is already pending.
What I am going to attempt to broach here is that maybe we could consider changing the narrative a little, in an attempt to not only remove the ‘baggage’ that comes with words like ‘meditation’, ‘mindfulness’ and ‘spirituality’…but also, so we’re better abled to redirect our focus and intention, avoid potentially compounding our already busy heads and schedules, with yet another ‘task’ to add to the daily list self-betterment activities.

I’m all for stripping away the unessential, rather than adding.
And in my opinion it’s the distractions in our lives that need to be first removed to allow for our true-selves to have an opportunity to really flourish.
It’s a practice of letting go of the stuff in our lives that play no benefit to our physical or mental wellbeing, or even worse, compromise it by creating ill-health, ill-thinking or no thinking because we’re completely focused-hijacked.
Addressing the distraction that steal our attention away, that rob us of the here and now.
Distractions the squash our motivations and bleed-out our mojo.
Distractions that mess with our heads!
Distractions that foster judgement and comparison.

Let’s look at cutting the crap, rather than keep piling more and more on top like some life-trifle.
Layer, upon layer, upon layer, upon layer…where we soon forget our arse from our elbow, believing that this constant state of distraction is NORMAL.
(WOW…Black FRIDAY….it’s 35% OFF!!!!)
And not only are we all guilty of it…but it’s friggin hard to relinquish these behaviours….these temptations…these tantalising temptations (ready for the segue?)

Let’s go quickly visit the ancient Greeks…who else could better teach us?
This is a little story about the Greek god called Tantalus.
Tantalus, who was banished to the underworld by his father Zeus. As further punishment he was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink.
His punishment was to yearn for things he desired but could never grasp(sounds familiar?)

Immortalised the story of a man who was perpetually distracted. We call something that is desirable but out of reach ’tantalising’.
The ancient Greeks thought this was just part of the curse of being a fallible mortal and used the story to portray the power of our incessant desires…how right they were.
You have to hand it to the Greeks, there’s probably no better representation of the human condition. We are constantly reaching for something: more money, better car, bigger house, bigger salary, nicer holiday, more status, bigger boobs, more stuff…bigger garage to store in it.

“The wealth of information means the dearth of something else…
a poverty of attention.”
– Herbert A. Simon
All behaviours, impulses and compulsion are prompted by both internal and external triggers.
Our internal triggers are cognitive and emotional cues. When we feel hungry, we look for food, if we’re thirsty we’ll look for a drink, if we’re tired we’ll rest, if we’re bored we’ll look at Facebook.
(A lot of the time these cues surface when ‘we think’ we are hungry, or when ‘we think’ we’re bored…when in fact we’re not, we’re just addicted to the habit, so we self-ignite the trigger, to self-reward ourselves…think booze, food, chocolate, Netflix, pizza)

External triggers are cued from our environment, that often dictates our next action or behaviour, such as pings and ring notifications, those little red dots on our email, messages or social media that tells us someone has ‘liked’ or responded to a post, or that we need to call someone back, or there’s a ‘news alert’.
External triggers also come in the form of co-workers or friends or static objects (not too similar to some co-workers🙄) like the TV, who’s mere presence urges us to turn in on. Or the fridge or pantry…again the mere presence will drive us to open the door, especially if our internal triggers are compromised through alcohol, lack of sleep, stress, poor self-esteem etc and trigger food or alcohol to placate an emotional state.

Where does this lead us?

To a perpetual state of being not only occupied, but completely overfed and over-stimulated, overfed and undernourished…”busy” without a modicum of productivity or fulfilment…and a sense of isolation and loneliness.
Loneliness with ourselves, because we are avoiding ourselves through the distracted habits we choose. Choices that override our reality, and our ability to face, live and deal with reality.
Also loneliness with others. The acts of listening are being corroded away, whilst our ability to make assumptions and judgements are becoming our natural reactionary default setting.

This self-imposed isolation, through our own distractions, is demolishing our ability to pay attention, to be aware and present enough to practice kindness, courtesy and patience not just with everyone around us…but most importantly YOU.

In Closing

As a parent, every decision you make, when it comes to your children, all the tough-love ‘calls’, the daily care, hygiene, health and wellbeing for your child comes only from a place of love…focused intention to ensure, to the best of your ability, that your child is happy, healthy, secure and grows into the best human possible…is that right?
I don’t have children, but I’d guess it’s something like this.
So, why don’t we apply those same care-metrics, that same level of conscious attention to ourselves and our own self-care, our own wellbeing and health & fitness.
Why and when did we lose that ability to self-parent our actions, to be strict with our thoughts and behaviours to ensure our health-wealth outcomes are the priority?
I’d bet my bottom-dollar that the main reason we fail ourselves, have a diminished ability to diligently focus on our own wellbeing, is due to the wide and varied distractions, poor habits and compulsions that we’ve both collected over the previous years and decades in becoming an ‘adult’, and the hyper-distractions that we now deal with via our super-connected, instant gratification, external focused lifestyle ideals we’re told and sold to aspire to.

If we are always distracted, and think that by adding more, buying more, doing more is the answer…then, I think, our ability to properly care for ourselves will not only compound the challenge that it is, but also, our reliance on the distractions, the things that got us here in the first place, will only continually be relied upon more & more…and thus propagate more isolation.