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The Things That Matter

Greetings Friends,

As January settles down for a long winter's nap, a few last thoughts.

Returning to the "Time Management for Mortals" conversation between Krista Tippett and Oliver Burkeman from the On Being podcast, the following caught our attention:

Krista Tippett: "...we are uncomfortable turning to what matters."

At this point in the podcast, the discussion revolves around an important task which is looming on the "to do" list. Considering the theme of Goal-Setting that we've been blogging about this month, we're going to interpret this task as an attainable goal that is on the horizon of the next few days/weeks/months rather than an immediate task or chore.

Oliver Burkeman goes on to say that we all have "...this trait inside us that wants us to do anything apart from the thing that, five minutes ago, we knew was the thing that needed our attention and our care. It is mysterious. But I think it can be explained. It’s not a coincidence that the things that matter trigger these feelings that we’d rather run away from into the pleasing and numbing and comfortable world of distraction, right? I mean, it — they bring us up against our edge."

This desire to run towards distraction might just be one of the expected results of a good goal.

The stakes are high because we have committed to ourselves to accomplishing something which truly matters. An understandable state of anxiety takes root around the goal and defense mechanisms kick in. Cue the distraction-seeking and thus, a vicious cycle begins.

Now that we are aware that avoidance through distraction is a natural response to goal-setting what do we do about it? Perhaps we simply sit with this new understanding. We acknowledge that striving for the things that matter will "bring us up against our edge" and challenge us.

Fear is normal. Anxiety is normal. The instinct to seek distraction is normal and now that we understand the origin of this instinct, we understand that we can make conscious decisions to moderate our responses.

Join us in February as we explore these ideas through "Wintering" and conscious self-care.

I wish for you peace in each day and joy in your body.



Emphasis in the quote is the author's, not in the original.

Here is the link to the 1-13-2022 episode of the On Being podcast, "Time Management for Mortals", a conversation between Krista Tippett and Oliver Burkeman.

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