A breath of clarity

I’ve been thinking a lot about distraction this past week. It’s pervasive in our lives, right?

Okay, so compare and contrast:

I spent a week last summer on a mindfulness retreat with my 6-year old daughter. I barely touched my smart phone, kept a regular schedule with early mornings, and never had to drive anywhere or plan anything.

It was blissful!

Yes, people were consciously practicing mindful walking, eating, etc., but it was a revelation to truly realize how much peace comes from simplicity. {Tweet it!}

Fast forward to an average week last month: beyond things like groceries and lunches, I’m planning podcast guests, gymnastics class, and what to do this weekend. I can’t forget to schedule that fundraising meeting, and yes, we can do a play date this week.

Sound familiar?

Doesn’t it seem like the pace of life  has crept up on us? That we expect ourselves to give our attention to more and more?

We are like that frog put in a pot of room-temperature water and the heat is slowly turned up. Everything is vying for our attention, from our schedules to our pinging smart phones.


It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed!

My lesson from retreat is that simplicity is a big part of practicing mindfulness. It’s just practical. We can’t give our full attention to everything when there is too much.

However, it is easy to blame outside conditions for our distracted state. They do have a big part to play, after all.

Ultimately though, distraction comes from the monkey-mind inside. We must take responsibility for our distracted state. {Tweet it!}

For me, mindfulness practice is a continual process of watering the seeds of peace that I felt on retreat ~ here in my daily life. Some days these seeds sprout and grow strong. Some days they don’t. Regardless, I keep trying.


So from this trying, I offer you 5 ways to bring some clarity into your distracted world:

1. Meditate. Sit quietly for at least 5 minutes every day. Really! This helps us develop a calm and stable mind. It produces greater focus and helps us overcome distraction.

2. Simplify. This includes possessions, schedules, and more. Ways we simplify here include having our girls take only one class or activity at a time and keeping a regular meal plan (Monday is pizza night, etc.). We also purge the clutter regularly.

3. Reduce screens. This is challenging in our smart-phone world! It is do-able though. Consider ditching the tv to choose your viewing more selectively from a laptop. You can also try our family’s practice of “Screen-free Sundays.” Clear boundaries on screens lead to clarity in life.

4. Check your email only twice a day. This is a new habit I am cultivating. Jumping back and forth with our attention (multi-tasking), gives the illusion of productivity while actually eroding our focus and harming performance. Instead, choose a deliberate time for your email and deliberately focus on it. Keep family time sacred.

5. Plan down time. Most of us need more unscheduled relaxation time. Try saying “no” to more so that you can embrace one lazy day each week. If you’ve become used to constant stimulation, this can be hard, but ultimately so rewarding. Without time and space in our lives, how can we enjoy those fleeting moments?

Now I want to hear from you.

What is causing the most distraction in your everyday life? Be specific, and tell us, how are you going to start to clear it up?

Thank you so much for reading, sharing, and contributing your story here.

P. S. You will be hearing from me a bit more than usual this week as I have a new Yoga Stories Project podcast to share with you this weekend! I can’t wait for you to hear this amazing conversation with Amy Cronise-Mead, mama and yogi-extraordinaire.  

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Be well,