Hello dear elephant community,
I’m really excited to blog for the first time and would like to start by saying:
Thank you for being here! I hope you post, comment and let me know what you’d like for me to write about. As excited as I am to be asked to write for this journal, it’s most importantly a service for you!
The theme of this week for me is…distraction! We all have a relationship with the “d word” and what it means, right?
We start out with feelings and thoughts toward some inspiring and motivating intention, and then the next thing we know, we’ve forgotten what we were focusing on—our minds are engaged in something else entirely.
Like sitting down to meditate for example: first, we must get water, then we need to send a text, then we are writing an email, then we must go to the restroom and so on.
As soon as we make an effort to focus on our intended action, something comes along that grabs our attention and sets us off course, and we find ourselves engaging in, fighting or even feeding the distraction—instead of submerging ourselves in the original goal.
After watching a Good Morning America piece about our cleanse the other day, my daughter told me that I can officially add “creates global scandals” to my resume. The piece was originally titled 14 day Health Challenge and was designed to help kids focus their eating on health for 14 days, but the title was questioned by people, specifically mothers against eating disorders, who thought that I was asking kids to diet.
With an ache in my heart I realized that what my daughter said was true: I must take responsibility and realize when I cause every day dramas.
I never consciously intended to do any such thing. I always hope people see things exactly the way I do and that they’ll agree with me and my good intentions. I hope that everyone knows that in my heart of hearts, my stand is in service to the planet and its people. I see myself being a part of the global effort to nourish in a healthy, happy and healed world.
Yet often, I have found myself being questioned and hated because of my created controversy. I found myself struggling to stay focused on my truth—and instead was worried about their reactions.
Do we need to attend to every little piece of energy that comes flying at us? I guess the next part of the question is: is this energy allowing us to continue to do what motivates, inspires and transforms us?
The way we participate in being motivated and inspired is by generating stories with an intent to inspire, transform and heal. It starts by finding inspiration inside ourselves—digging to the core of our own being. To humble ourselves, to find more peace and happiness within ourselves and share what we have found that works.
Even with this intention, people will question us; things will distract us.
Last year it was having the paparazzi at my wedding and thousands of people saying that I force fed vegan food down guests’ throats. This year it’s mothers concerned that I am creating eating disorders by challenging families and their youth to choose healthier foods. They say that I have no credentials and am a risk to humanity and everyone’s kids.
When things like this happen, I now focus on my being—sit on my hands and not let it get to me—because this is what has been distracting.
In the beginning, I simply could not ignore it.
I went through all the steps, I first read all of the comments and then tried ignoring all of it. I deleted the twitter application. I went on a retreat. Then I blocked, unblocked and then blocked again—and oh, there’s a mute button, did you know that?
How was this distracting?
The program had only begun and rather than supporting the children, I was trying to delete, hide or respond to what was simply not supportive. So I changed my focus. I will not engage in that which will not support the goal. My intentions and passion are a priority.
So we must ask ourselves if what we are doing is truly serving our higher potential or if it is taking us in the other direction. What we choose to focus on expands. Our energy will grow in the place we choose to plant it—so we must ask ourselves what garden we are tending to.
I realized that the “devil’s advocate” and distraction might be good friends. In fact, I realized this after I placed my response.
I realized I would much rather be engaging on the height of the mountain than down below in the mud, so I chose to wait and persevere—and anyone who wants my attention can come meet me where I am!
Here are a few how-tos for dealing with distractions:
1. Create a graphic against the distraction—for instance, bullying or negativity.
Whether you share it or not, it acts as a good outlet to get it out and that will help. It’s like writing and deleting, sometimes it’s important to put your feelings down. If you choose to share, wait at a day or so. We should ultimately act from a clear, thought out place, rather than react.
2. If harassed, don’t be afraid to block those who are directing negative distractions your way.
Perhaps there will be time for a productive conversation where all parties are heard, but until then, what’s the point of engaging in negativity?
Get on your yoga mat or go be silent in nature or by a water fountain. Breathe deeply and meditate on what is important, or nothing at all. Get back to you, because if you’re pointing elsewhere and your intention is elsewhere, then that’s exactly where you are. You’ve just abandoned the only place that’s truly important to stay—inside.
4. Go back to go forward.
Go back to focusing on what you were passionate about before you got distracted. Sometimes we get lost on a road trip and when we cant figure it out, we can go back to the last place we knew we were on track before proceeding further.
5. Know your truth.
It is not up to us to change anyone else’s…in fact, we cannot! The most important thing is walking the talk and leading by example. If we are resolute in our truth then eventually, those who are ready will come along, but we cannot force or manipulate; we can only be it.
Have compassion and try to see that though you may not see eye-to-eye with others, they too have a perspective that is valid. Be willing to serve without distraction, and find a way to effectively work on yourself with boundaries that allow you to stay focused.
Either climb the mountain now, later or not at all, but let us not get distracted on whichever path we have chosen.
Our hearts are guiding us somewhere and that voice is king. To listen to anything other than our hearts can create suffering, pain and a lost potential treasure. The “distractions” would love to prevent us from walking up that hill, and finding out greatness—which is only alive if it has our attention and we continue to seek it.
I invite us to hold hands and step together, regardless of our individual adventures. Let’s walk, run, jog or fly toward that which is truly calling our hearts, as anything other than that journey is a distraction.
We are waiting for nothing and nobody but ourselves to make this choice. It’s all up to us.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Cat Beekmans
Photo: Used with permission. Courtesy of RMO from the book The 21 Day SuperStar Cleanse, shot by the rawtographer.