Updated: Sep 19, 2019
I did something different today. I ran, without music.
Typically when I run, I am plugged in. Garmin watch ticking my mileage and pace, music jamming in my ears. As I set out into the woods this morning, though, I never turned the music on. There was a small creek at the start, and with the rain we've h
ad recently, it was cheerfully babbling as it danced over rocks and fallen limbs.
And it was beautiful. And so I ran. Four glorious, music-free miles.
My mind soared! The run was nearly effortless, I could feel clarity, calmness, coursing through me. Catharsis. The reason I began running in the first place. And I wondered: why today? Why is today's run so...good?
The answer was obvious. I was not distracted.
The problem with distraction is that you never face what needs to be faced.
Let's be perfectly candid: the only reason I run with music is to distract myself from the very fact that I am running. To drown out my breathing, my complaints, my worries, everything that's cluttering up my mind. The problem, I've learned, is that in drowning that all out I never face it. And in failing to face it, I simply can't let it go. I distract myself from the very release that I crave.
How perfectly this translates to other areas of life. We distract ourselves with issues that, if we allow ourselves the gift of honesty, simply do not matter. We fret, we worry, we plan, we manipulate, all in the name of avoiding what really needs to be done, The hard work. The truth, The confrontation of self. The release.
Distraction is easy, and the things we distract ourselves with are often easy to justify. Which naturally makes it difficult to identify when we really are distracting ourselves. The effort we need to exert to reach our goals, to make our dreams possible, to realize the absolute pinnacle of our potential is hard. And there is a really big part of us that doesn't want to face that work. Consider this: is what you are worrying about right now, what you are intent on right now, what you are expending your energy on right now, sharpening your focus on your goals? On what, if you really think about it, is important to you?
Or is distraction destroying your dreams?
Turn off the noise. Just run, and face what holds you back.