Extraction of Distractions
You can learn a lot about yourself when you remove distractions. The day after my birthday I deleted all of my social media apps and headed out to spend some much-needed time resting by the ocean. For a week I refrained from checking social media, opening my laptop, writing to-do lists, and constantly picking up my phone. I felt both liberated and raw. In the absence of all of those space fillers, I had a clear pathway to see myself fully and I learned a lot. I discovered that my social media platforms and productivity practices can become my prisons when I don’t give myself the freedom and flexibility to go with the flow every now and then.
Here are some strategies to support you as you extract distractions and practice presence.
Pure Presence. My social media sabbath was inspired by reading the book Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey. In my retreat from the rabbit hole of endless scrolling, I realized that my phone had become a barrier between me and so much of the splendor that being fully present has to offer. I was able to bask in the beauty of the blue sky, be lulled by the crashing waves of the ocean, and be swaddled by the warm sea breeze. In the throes of this delight, I realized that I had abandoned my childlike wonder and enjoyment of nature. It had been replaced by an obsession with taking pictures and videos of every moment fueled by the motivation and instant gratification of posting on social media.
Moderated Mood. During my retreat from technology, I noticed that I felt a heightened sense of joy and fun. I surmised that this was because my mood wasn’t subject to being thrashed about by stumbling upon disturbing social media posts, reading text messages with an expectation of an instant response, or opening emails that pull me back into the world of work and away from the respite of rest.
Intrinsic Alarm Clock. During my vacation I didn’t set my alarm clock, but I was excited to wake up early each morning to try to catch a glimpse of dolphins leaping through the ocean at sunrise. Once I was up, I couldn’t resist walking along the beach barefoot as a way to root and ground myself in the new day. I didn’t need any of my regular external prompts or devices to get me going. I was intrinsically motivated by my environment, even in the absence of all the things we think we need to enhance productivity.
This week I challenge you to extract some of the distractions that prevent you from the beauty that accompanies pure presence.
I am a practicing pure presence.
I am moderating my mood by extracting distractions.
I am spending time in environments that inspire engagement.