It comes in a moment. There you are, focused on that Thing that matters so much and… squirrel! Your attention is diverted. You are writing your memoir and…a ding of the email lures you into chatting with Aunt Mary about her begonias. You are meditating and… instead glance at your iPhone to find 6 “urgent” messages.
We all do it. We want to create these big, beautiful lives full of meaning and fully engaged moments, yet we are lured time and time again by the easy fix. We follow the squirrel.
Author Judith Wright calls these detours “soft addictions.” Soft addictions can be habits, compulsive behaviors, or recurring moods or thought patterns. Their essential defining quality is that they satisfy a surface want, but ignore or block the satisfaction of a deeper need.”
I get it all too well. I am creating all the time – with my writing, my business, my relationships, my shaping of a more spiritual, fully awake, on purpose life. Yet today I noticed that as I was stepping into a new creative project, I started feeling shaky. That’s how creative projects are, from creating a painting to a life. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We are stepping into the unknown. It can feel scary.
So as I stared down the project… an irresistible urge to check my emails pulled me right in. I felt a sigh of relief. The long list of highlighted messages felt familiar. And suddenly I was feeling… productive! Confident of my abilities! You should have seen how artfully I worded that Amazon review!
And so it goes. Forty minutes later I was pulling myself out of my inbox with the fogginess of a drunk. I felt the soft addiction hangover. Time had passed without me really being there. Nothing of true value or that really engaged my heart had happened. Instead of feeling fully alive, I had been MIA.
It’s so easy to get hijacked from what really matters. But it’s also easy to get back on track, to reconnect with the heart of what has meaning for us.
I am curious – what soft addictions get YOU off track the most? And how do you move back to what matters most? Comment below on the blog.
And if you’d like to explore this more, join me at Seton Cove on October 27 for Tackling Soft Addictions (more details below). We will compassionately explore where we get caught in our soft addictions… and how to free ourselves.
Winter Creative Soul Women’s Circles
January to April, 2017
Interested in self-discovery in an intimate Women’s Circle? The next series begins in January and will be based on Julia Cameron’s latest book — “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.”
Registration will open mid-November, 2016
Tackling Soft Addictions
Thursday, October 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Seton Cove, Austin, Texas
Have you ever found yourself craving a life of more meaning… only to find yourself surfing the internet? Or binge watching shows on Netflix? Soft addictions are those numbing habits we ALL have which satisfy a surface want… yet block us from meeting deeper needs and desires. (Or goals — remember that book you’ve been thinking about writing?) They sap our time, energy and emotions.
During this workshop, we will take a humorous, non-judgmental look at the appeal of soft addictions and how they show up in our lives. Then we will explore our deeper spiritual hungers and how to meet those in a way that leads to a more fulfilling, engaged and meaningful life. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Register here.