Posts Tagged ‘distraction’

the presence of emptiness

September 9, 2010

I know the title to this piece sounds like an oxymoron – if something is empty (if there is nothing) how can there be presence? Emptiness has a true presence – it is a vacancy ready for occupation. Emptiness fills the spot in a person’s absence. In letting go of the past, emptiness is what comes when the feeling that used to be present is gone. Emptiness is having a wordless place within the desire to write and express. Emptiness is looking for the person that I used to be and finding she no longer exists. My past selves are but a memory to me.

Where there is nothing, though, makes real the possibility of something. As I let go of anything, I become more available to other things in life. If I am not careful in my growing to fill myself with something vibrant, new, and colorful, emptiness will settle its placid self down in my life and occupy any available space. Then, I become vulnerable to the Law of Distraction.

The Law of Distraction is anything that will take my attention away from the fact that I am empty, and, generally, the Law of Distraction is attached to the Path of Least Resistance. Whatever is easily available in my life becomes my focus and distracts me from paying attention to my emptiness. I am still empty, but I have all of these distractions that require my energy, so emptiness sits back in the easy chair, with a beer in one hand and the television remote in the other, and makes itself at home.

At some point, I need to confront emptiness. In paying attention to what I think, do, and feel when I am empty, I come to know my default attitudes and ways of being. Not all of them serve me well but what becomes clear as I watch myself within my emptiness is that each and every one of them is a choice.

I appreciate all of them, especially the ones I am letting go of. They served a purpose in my life at some point, kept me alive, and got me to where I am today.

And I greet the empty spaces they leave behind with grateful anticipation and wonder at what I can create there now.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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the presence of focus

July 3, 2010

Whatever we focus on will grow. If I focus my time and attention on any particular area of my life, it will grow and evolve, and sometimes come to completion and be finished. When I focus on completing written works, page after page filled with words appear on my computer screen, and eventually, on tidy white pieces of paper.

Whether those words say what I want them to say in the way I want them to say it is an entirely different manner and requires a different sort of focus. That is called “rewriting focus” and even right now, I want to go back and rewrite the phrase “entirely different manner” because it is a cliché and I don’t want to write with clichés. But, clichés are a way of getting an idea down on paper quickly before the other ideas that are pushing to be heard and written get lost in the thousand others bumping up against each other. Eventually, I fear my ideas will give up trying to escape my weeny brain and retreat back to my subconscious. By the way, “weeny” is not a real word. It is the second half of another cliché “teeny weeny” which all of us have heard. “Teeny weeny” refers to something smaller than small . . . like miniscule. I do not have a “teeny” miniscule brain but sometimes there are so many ideas clamoring crashing the exits, that my brain often feels “weeny”- incapable of containing all those ideas at one time.

Enough of that already. The paragraph above represents what I have been allowing myself to do for the past couple of weeks: allowing life to distract me from myself. Even in writing, I digress and go off on tangents that have nothing to do with my original thought when I sat down. I sat down to write about focus and end up defining slang.

Rewriting a piece often requires that I walk away from it for a couple of hours and occupy myself with something else while I digest the words at some unnamed internal place. The idea is out there captured inside my computer. It went from intangible to digital and will be tangible when I print it out on paper.

What is important to rewriting is the empty space inside me reserved for that particular piece of writing. If I focus on that empty space, more of that idea will grow there. The writing becomes more of itself. To get to the empty space, I must sit down at regular intervals and visit with my words outside of myself . . . whether I “want” to or not regardless of whether now is a “good” time or not.

If I wait for the right mood to strike to write, I will be waiting forever. And all those ideas will go off to find someone else who will write about them.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of distraction

April 10, 2010

Distraction is the presence of energies that attract our attention away from anything else that we could choose to focus on. Distraction is a useful mechanism, but like anything else, whatever we focus on will grow. It is even possible to have a life full of distraction.

I struggle with distraction. One time, I was sitting in a death-by-meeting at work struggling to stay awake among 20 other people also close to dozing off. My participation was not required. I was there for informational purposes only. The person who had called the meeting (let’s call that person, um, Unconscious) had already given me what I needed to know in the first five minutes. While I could have left, Unconscious was someone known to take that sort of behavior as a personal offense. To keep myself awake, I began freewriting and, before too long, I was well into the first draft of a short story. I had four handwritten pages by the time the meeting ended. I was part of the crowd surging for the door when I heard Unconscious call my name. Ever the good employee, I stepped aside and let the herd sweep around me. Unconscious said “I was really impressed with the amount of notes you were taking. Could I have a copy of those?”

You can guess the rest. I had to run around to 18 other people and ask them what the heck Unconscious had talked about without letting them know I had not heard a word. That story became my second short story from that meeting.

Distractions are just energies that appear more appealing than other energies that need our attention. I need to say “no” to all the distractions that come dancing my way waving their fancy little fantasies and tales of pleasure. I need to stop thinking in the Land of Supposed To Be or the Land Where I Would Rather Be and instead think and act in the Land of I Where I Am. I need to take full responsibility for my choices and take care of myself in the present. If there is a situation I am avoiding that I need to attend to, I have to stop and ask myself why. Am I waiting for the stars and planets to line up in perfect harmony? For everything to be okay so that I feel safe in taking that next big step in my life towards the Land of I Want To Be? If I continue this frame of thought, I will be waiting a long long long long long time so it occurs to me that I will probably take a small step today, put a toe (maybe even an entire foot!) in the water to test its depth, measure its temperature, and see how it might be to walk in that ocean that leads to the Life I Envision For Myself. At some point, I know I may fall off some yet unseen precipice and find myself underwater, but that’s okay . . . I know how to swim.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass