I am a man of many interests. As a quintessential Gemini I often suffer from Shiny Metal Object Disorder. Just in the amount of time it took me to type those last two sentences I found myself distracted by a dozen little nigglers of attention.
As I’ve shared before in some post in this blog, my grandmother used to iterate to me “jack of all trades, master of none” as some form of sage warning in light of my numerous dalliances and dabblings. Apparently this was intended to alert the focally challenged of the dangers of only developing these splinters of endeavors to the maximum level of mediocrity. One can either be good at everything or the best at any one thing.
I’m not looking for a recognition of achievement presented by Jimmy Carter in any of my numerous avocations. I don’t need to bring out the Hellman’s in the particular project that has grabbed my attention. These multiple forays into this, that, whatever, and whatnot form a veritable smörgåsbord of delights to titillate and tantalize my attentions if only for a fortnight, a day and a half, or the ironically short length of a Viagra commercial.
At the risk of exploiting an opportune placement for a sophomoric pun… herein lies the rub:
There are times I find myself fervently and feverishly seeking out a temporary pet project like a hamster with a broken wheel suffering Ritalin withdrawals. It’s not that a specific distraction du jour has become too fascinating or compelling for me to resist. It’s more like an insatiable craving for something, anything to keep my attention preoccupied, even when there’s no source of inspiration. Think of it like being at a buffet when you really have no appetite but you feel compelled to reach under every sneeze guard into every chafing pan because everything looks so delicious.
At these times I serve myself well to stop and breathe and examine the source of this restlessness. While it may feel like there’s a fire lit under me that I have to make use of, in reality it’s merely a few embers that need to exhaust themselves to black. I’m trying to desperately fan them back into flames like a band of castaways trying to beat the rainstorm following the setting sun.
I believe any time we get restless as such, we are not only ignoring the part of us that needs desperately to connect with the deep stillness within, we are also trying to run from it. We are doing our best to escape from the inner voice that is no louder than a whisper, doing its level best to tell us what we need to hear that we may not want to hear. That’s when we put our fingers in our ears and make lalala sounds in attempt to drown out the non-noise. If we can just keep our distractions going we can prevent our psyche from getting pinned down by our inner selves and be forced to listen to what is best for us, which is certainly counter to what we are currently doing.
So when we find ourselves compelled to drown in the swell of distractions without drives, that is our cue to take pause, to hit the brakes and sink into the stillness. It is at those times that the idea of remaining still might feel like leaning into an uppercut, but once we stop we will realize we were unwittingly delivering ourselves the blows in our fervor. The quiet is the time needed for us to heal and to rest and face our own truths from which our uninspired distractions were trying to hide us.