Distractions by Jess McGimsey

Jess and WyattHave you heard the banging and drilling next door? That’s the sound of progress! The contractor and his team are working very quickly, and if you take a peek next time your in, the space is already starting to transform. Demo and framing are done, and they’re now working on opening up the ceiling and getting ready for electrical. As exciting as this is for all of us, the sounds can be a bit distracting while you are trying to sweat away the day in your downward facing dog. When there’s a bang of the hammer, does it take you away from your breath and take you away from the present moment and into your head? This got me thinking, are these external distractions really what’s keeping you or me from being present? Or is it internal distractions?

On my mat I’ve noticed those days where I’m in my head, and for whatever reason can’t focus. I find every excuse to not be present. I pick lint off my mat, I drop down and adjust my pants, oh and now I need to redo my ponytail. I listen to the traffic going by, I check out that cute top on the girl in front of me… I wonder where she got that? I’m physically here, but I’m not presently here.

Then on the other hand there’s those days where I really could be the only one in class and I wouldn’t notice the difference. I walk out not having any idea of what poses or sequence we just did. I was fully present breathing with each pose of the moment. So, what’s the difference? Me.

I have the power to be present even if my mind doesn’t want to be, and so do you. I’m not saying the construction noise isn’t distracting, because it completely is. But what I am saying is, when the hammering stops, can we find peace in the present moment without focusing on another distraction? And not just on the yoga mat? How often do we distract ourselves from our true self, or from things that are really important? I’m totally guilty of this one. My distraction, I’ve realized is I have a tendency to check my phone constantly. Why? Is it because I’m waiting on an important email or call?… Nope. Whenever I get a little uneasy, bored, or for no reason at all, I check my phone. It’s like a tick. It’s easier to bury myself in my phone, then to be in a real situation. So, what’s the first step to letting go of unnecessary distractions? Realize them. For me, am I truly needing to check for an email, or am I finding an excuse to not be in the moment? Do I really need to redo my ponytail? Or am I just wanting to skip Vasistasana (side plank) because it pushes me?

Once we realize what is distracting us, we have the choice to either give attention to it or let it go. When we let go of things that don’t need our attention, that leaves us free to be completely present.

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can to do is be in the present…gratefully. “- Maya Angelou

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