Self love and staying in the now, part 4

You can learn a lot from distraction. The thoughts that keep recurring. The desires that pull you.

These things are information about how you are inside.

About aspects of you that need expression and haven’t found it yet.

In the present, if you observe, you’ll see your attitudes and orientations. The involuntary aspects of you that may or may not serve.

Stories about the past.

Stories about the future.

Stories about others.

Stories about yourself.

They show up as potential distraction. Little chances to wander away from the present into fantasy.

With work you can notice them, isolate them, heal them, and integrate them so that they no longer distort your perspective or have a negative effect on your experience.


…start to address the roots of distraction.



Following the breadcrumbs

It’s amazing where a single stray thought can lead. It’s a breadcrumb trail. One thought slips in, unnoticed, and the next thing you know you’re up to your neck in fantasy.

Fantasy isn’t always flashbulbs and book signings, or lying on the beach with your checkbook, or being interviewed by

Fantasy is anything that is not right now, and which is involuntary.

That could be the dry cleaning.

Whatever it is it represents some level of concern, or anxiety, or dissatisfaction.

Or it would not be happening.

But if you notice the breadcrumb trail without following it, you can start to work with the energy it represents. The experience it echoes.

And you can start to address the roots of distraction.



 Nobody doesn’t have work to do.



Clues to what you need

When you’re balanced and content, you are present, because the present is a nice place to be.

You don’t run away.

If your inner foundations are sound you will be present even when your circumstances are difficult, because you have access to enough of your own inner resources, and enough trust in the world generally, to stay in the game.

But any time you leave the present there’s a reason. It’s become more than you think you can take.

Your distractions, the things that chase or lure you out of the now, are clues to what you need to feel safe and stable in life.

And they are clues to the fact that you don’t feel completely safe or stable.

That you have work to do to establish trust in your general place in things.

Nobody feels completely safe. Nobody doesn’t have work to do. That’s why we all get distracted.



 …your only access to your own life is in your memories.



Insidious, hidden

The real power of distraction lies in the fact that we don’t know it’s happening. Before we begin the work of transformation, distraction comes and goes at will in our minds and hearts.

It takes over, runs the place, and backs off only on those occasions when life itself calls you back to the present.

As it does.

Until you wake up and reach for fullness, you can wander around in distraction most of the time.

Most of the time.

Most of your life passes by unnoticed.


We collect it with our memory, but that becomes our only access to it.


Imagine it: your only access to your own life is in your memories.

That’s no way to live.



…managing and learning from distraction.



The self love response

But self love gets beneath distraction and shakes out the messages it contains.

It enables you to observe the distraction as a feature on the landscape of the present. And not focus on it in a  way that leads you into escape.

And that will enable you to remain present in a way that is consistent and strong over time.

It is an aspect of self love that you constantly give yourself a chance.

You don’t waste time castigating yourself for mistakes. Instead, over and over, you waste no time in forgiving yourself and making the adjustments necessary to get yourself back on track.

This approach is absolutely bottom-line essential to managing and learning from distraction.



…undivided, singular and chosen.




The idea is to be open. Unblocked. Fluid. To make your full potential actual.

To be whole.

Whole is the goal.

Each of us can become a unified, organized creature of power, through whom the creative force of the universe flows without obstruction.

Or not.

It’s a choice.

Presence involves the ability to choose your state of mind and to know what your options are, based on what your circumstances and emotions are telling you.

You can operate from an orientation that is undivided, singular and chosen.



…you bolt and disappear into distraction.



It’s voluntary

The voluntary nature of presence is important. If you do not choose presence you are absent.

And absence always indicates a disconnect somewhere in yourself. An inability to access some vital part of you.

Usually your emotions.

For example, if you are involuntarily blocking joy, you lack connection to a vital region of your own being, the region where joy lives.

That blockage is rooted in unhealed pain.

When an opportunity for joy presents itself, you flee.

In some way.

It’s a reflex. The present moment becomes, for that moment, unendurable, so you bolt and disappear into distraction.



You can see the path to wholeness.



Standing your ground

The first step to arresting this flight response is to stop and feel that fear, doubt, hesitation, sadness, whatever.

If you can do that even for a moment, and let the emotion in, you see your lack of presence while it’s still fresh.

You can actually witness the transition into distraction.

And that’s an eye opener.

Because it’s often the transition into some destructive behavior. Or a bailing out on some opportunity. Or a missed moment of richness that you cannot retrieve.

By witnessing this transition over and over, while simultaneously forgiving yourself for the occurrence, you will transform the involuntary reflex of escape into awareness of an obstacle.

And suddenly you can see the work you need to do.

You can see the path to wholeness.

And following that path is the reason you’re here.


Did you find this post useful?

It’s part 4 of a series. Part one lives here, part two here, and part three here. Don’t forget to shout at me in the comments!

  • Maria

    So timely for me…and so helpful. Thank you, Peter!

    • Peter Crowell

      Glad to hear it, Maria.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Anonymous

      I’m really glad you found the post useful, Maria.

      By the way, I did respond to your comment yesterday, but for some reason it didn’t go through.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Daniel Collinsworth

    Oh man… so much good stuff here. Bears reading again and again. Awesome insights here Peter, you’ve given me some great food for thought and a signal to notice and work with.

    • Anonymous

      Awesome, Daniel. That’s great to hear. Thanks yet again.

  • Andrew Zahn

    In acting, we call it ‘being present.’

    Any good actor who is able to say in the now, will produce amazing, focused, realistic work.

    I enjoyed this post!

    • Anonymous

      Awesome, Andrew. “Amazing, focused, realistic work” is everyone’s birthright.

      Thanks for reading, and even more for your comment!

      (I have a secret desire to try theater.)

      • Andrew Zahn

        Do it and post your experience. I dare you 😉

  • Capemere

    I love your writings and you! M

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for reading Capemere! (I love you, too.)