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June 9, 2014

Why Escapism is Easier Than Being Present. ~ Chantal Malan

Susan Farris

As I write this, Mango, my sturdy ginger cat, is offering his neck for a scratch.

I am tempted to sink my fingers into his soft fluff and tickle him until his gently lulling purr sings into my heart.

I am not the only one distracted by our attention loving felines. Frequently my son claims they lure him away from his work and play, much like the scoundrel in the Dr. Seuss classic.

This made me wonder how much time I spend inventing excuses and distractions in order to avoid the succulent slices of a well lived life.

I use necessary phrases such as “I must” and “I need to” to fuel the importance of the distractions I choose.

As my day fills up with e-mails, texts, Facebook messages, Google articles and a TV series or two, my life quietly slips by.

It does so without demanding the attention the distractions so readily receive.

Am I escaping this singular moment of life due to a fear of completely inhabiting it?

What will happen if I let go of the comforts and plunge into the present, head first, senses alive?

I might find true joy and real connections, not just the fragments and illusions of it flickering on various small and big screens.

Why do I love these distractions then, even though I know bliss waits on the other side?

Perhaps I am Mango in that moment, closing my eyes to the barking dogs of the world, enjoying a little scratch under the chin. I can hide on a social network or lose myself in a TV series, but I cannot shut my eyes to the beckoning of a well lived life forever.

One day I will have to face the growling dogs of my vivid imagination and tame them.

If I look closely I might even see that they were purring kittens all along. The fears of success and failure; of loss and gain could all be just as illusory as the comfort I find in avoiding it.

This I will find out when I stop turning my back on the present moment, or as my son says when I ask him to brush his teeth: “But, Mango. 

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Apprentice Editor: Carrie Marzo

Photo: Susan Farris / Pixoto 

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Chantal Malan