Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Attraction or Distraction?

I'm writing this while watching CNN on my PC, and CBS on the television.  Like so many in the country, I should be working.   But who can work while the country, and possibly the world, is pausing to take in this amazing moment in contemporary history, as Barack Obama is soon to be sworn into the office of the President?

What is really going on here, from a creative standpoint?  Am I procrastinating?  Getting distracted?  Goofing off? Should I turn off everything and get back to work?

Not a chance.

Those words -- procrastination, distraction, goofing off -- describe a negative, blocked energy, and are not at all descriptive of the energy that is filling my heart at the moment.  No, the correct word is "attraction".  I am attracted to this event.  I am choosing to connect to the joy, anticipation, enthusiasm, hope, and so many other profound human emotions evoked by all that I am seeing and hearing.

It is important to understand the distinction between attraction and distraction.  Distraction pulls you away from your priorities, diminishes your energies, and dilutes your efforts.  Attraction realigns your priorities, increases your energies, and informs your efforts.  

Mindfully giving yourself permission to follow your heart is like planting seeds.  If you want more red flowers in your garden, you plant more red flower seeds.  Obviously, those seeds may not grow.  And if you already have red flowers, they may reseed and multiply in that way, making it seem as if your planting efforts were redundant.  But adding the seeds (or seedlings) to your garden increases the probabilities that you will achieve your desired outcome, and decrease your dependence on luck or the benevolence of the universe.

In that way, if you want more joy in your life, whenever possible, choose actions and experiences that give you joy.   You may not get that joy in the form you expected it, but you will increase joyful experiences.  You will increase your knowledge of what joy feels like, and thereby improve your chances of recognizing it the next time it comes along.

The difference between attraction and distraction is observable in your own energy level.  Sitting by the pool and drinking a beer may bring a measure of relaxation and pleasure to your life.  But will you be able to take something from the experience and then approach your work with renewed vigor and creativity?  Sometimes, that answer is a resounding "yes!"  (but beer usually has the opposite effect on me.)

I am sure that in a few hours, in the after glow of these shared moments of suspended disbelief, we will all get back to work richer for having been attracted to this experience.  And our work will be richer, too, resonant with echoes of hope, joy, and transformation.

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