Life and Everything

Distractions I live by

I just read an article about blogging that gave suggested blogging topics. One was “What are your top 5 distractions and how do you deal with them?” I don’t really need ideas about what to blog about, I just write what’s in my head, but this one interests me a bit. I’m not sure where it’s going to go, but isn’t that the way with distractions?

And the soul of the rose went into my blood

I’m a self employed artist, so sometimes distractions are useful, creative things that are part of the process. My distraction in the spring and summer is my garden. Not sitting in it, working in it. It’s creativity in another form. It doesn’t get my accounts done, nor does it finish a drawing, but it does feed my soul. And that’s important to an artist. Actually I think it’s important to everyone, its just that time, when controlled by someone else, (an employer), doesn’t have room for soul-feeding. So it’s called a distraction. Keep focused, keep on task, or free up your time and feed your soul. Or that’s what I’m saying anyway. (1)

Chewing on the cud

Rumination is probably my biggest distraction. I don’t even know what I’m ruminating about half the time. My brain just does this thing where it goes wandering off , very frequently into deep waters that are not that safe, but also just wandering around aimlessly. It’s hard to explain what I’m thinking about. It takes over though and makes it really hard to move. Quite often it just repeats the same thoughts over and over again. I say “it”, I mean “I”. I guess I should own it, but often it doesn’t really feel like I’m in control at all. Daydreaming. Sometimes its daynightmaring. Either way, it sucks me into a deep deep well. I don’t do terribly well at anything else while I’m doing that. (2)

What will you do to keep away the black dog that worries you at home?

The black dog lurking in the corner, just a blink away in your peripheral vision: it’s long been a metaphor for depression. Metaphors are ok for explaining how you feel, but if you can use them as a life line, they’re even better. I discovered that if I beckoned the black dog into the room, gave her a stroke and a pat, asked her what’s wrong, she’s a lot less scary and a lot less, erm, looming. That’s because my depression is often down to unexpressed distress I guess. If I get to express it, I feel less depressed. But sometimes that old dog, she sits in the corner and whines, and it’s a distraction. (3)

Don’t sit so close to the telly, you’ll get square eyes

I watch too much TV. It’s not even good TV. Reruns of crime drama usually. It’s like a sedative; sometimes it even sends me to sleep, and actually that’s a good thing. I guess it’s a safer addiction than say Valium, but it seems pretty hard to kick. It’s a great distraction while I’m doing a repetitive tedious task. Other times it distracts me when I’m supposed to be doing my accounts or cooking tea, or important things like that, which maybe isn’t so great. (4)

‘aving a reet good cal

When I was a teenager it would take me twice as long to get home from school as my sister. That’s mainly because of Shahida. Or Jane. Or Deborah. I’d never quite finished what I wanted to say by the place where our paths diverged. So there we’d stand, on the corner of the street, cal-ing. And now you don’t have to be even in the same country to chat with someone. It’s bloody distracting. But it’s bonding too. It doesn’t matter whether it’s incisive and intellectual or just small talk, humans need to communicate. Except the ones that don’t. But no-one could mistake me for one of those. (5)

And what about you?

What distracts you? I’d really like to know. I can’t be the only person who watches repeats of Lewis ad nauseum?

Footnotes:
(1) This is almost certainly a misuse and misinterpretation of what Tennyson meant in his poem Come Into The Garden Maud, but I’m shamelessly borrowing it because I like the sound of the words.
(2) Mindfulness is very good for breaking a spell of rumination. It’s what gets me up in the morning. If you want to read more about rumination, depression and mindfulness, I’d recommend The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Jon Kabat-Zinn et al, though the included meditation CD was just too California for me.
(3) Samuel Johnson is attributed with the first known use of the black dog as a metaphor for depression, and this quote is from a letter to James Boswell 1779 or thereabouts. I’m not an expert, I just did a very quick bit of research. Please feel free to correct or add.
(4) My Granpop used to say this to me. If you’re as old as me, someone probably said it to you too.
(5) Cal -ing is Leeds speak for chatting. “A was avin a cal wi’ ‘er next door.”

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