Distraction or desiring? What you are choosing?

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I just got off the phone with an amazing client, someone I admire so much, I have tried to hire her for my own business – only to have her say “Nope, I’m not available.” Which made me so happy because, yes ma’am!, she is now putting her dream first.

She has had an incredibly successful habit of championing other people’s dreams while neglecting her own. Of getting uber close to harnessing her extraordinary talents in service to what she wants and then – wait what just happened?? – finding herself working almost around the clock on someone else’s marketing plan/book launch/coaching company. And then waking up a few months later pissed as hell.

We all do it, I told her. Have mercy. Watch me answer an email supporting someone else rather than writing my new project – how did I get to the email program? It’s like a moment of time disappears and we have given up on our selves. The ways we distract ourselves take all sorts of inventive forms – micro-managing your children’s college application process, researching every last possible option for your vacation /car purchase/new duvet cover… or perhaps you prefer buying domain names and starting new businesses or – this is a truly delicious one – completely decluttering your entire house before you can begin that long held dream.

I’m not suggesting for one moment you try to stop distracting yourself – focus on doing that and you’ll end up with squeaky clean counters and that’s it. (Clean counters are great but probably not the deepest purpose of your life).

Instead, orient your life by desire.
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Not because that’s a fool proof strategy or because you will “effortlessly manifest” (insert gagging) exactly what you want but because listening to what you truly desire will keep what you want up in your face while infusing you with energy – tons of wiggling wonderful energy. This makes it a whole lot harder to deny you are choosing someone else’s desire over your own.

You see what you are doing – “I want this but I’m doing this…. hmmm…  interesting.”

See this choice point enough times in living breathing painful detail without adding one iota of self-cruelty and you will, slowly but surely, start to choose in favor of your dream. In favor of what calls you. To stop thinking, to stop planning, to stop distracting, and instead, to take blessed simple action.

With a little practice, the worn neural pathways of “But they will be mad at me!” or “It’s selfish to paint instead of visit mom” or “I know helping my friend is valuable, I don’t know if writing my novel is,” begin to atrophy and new ones are born. New pathways that sound something like “There is room for me in my life” and “What I want matters.” You understand it is by taking action on your desires and learning from those actions that the path of your truer life is revealed, one crooked step at a time.

Follow the aliveness, pay attention, orient by your desires.

My experience is, in doing this, we naturally gravitate toward serving this weary world in ways it truly needs. That our immense hearts open and say “I desire to stop global warming” or “I desire to end factory farming in my county” or “I desire to inspire my neighbors to grow a garden with me” and off you go, not because you should but because you want to.

What do you think? What’s your experience? I’d love to hear!

Love,

Jen

Life-Organizer-CoverP.S. If you like this post, you will love my book The Life Organizer which is coming out in paperback early next month. We’re about ready to unveil useful goodies to support the book – including a Life Organizer app!! We’ll be doing a pre-order hullabaloo next week and if you’d like to pre-order now, that would be so awesome. Just save your receipt for now.

I know many of you already own the hardcover and I’m so hoping you’ll order a second copy for holiday gifts. Thank you in advance for your support!

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OceanPrincess - November 5, 2013

“What I want matters” and “take blessed simple action.” Important reminders for this gal who can get distracted from her distractions. Ah yes…Have Mercy. I’m very familiar with this. 🙂

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    jenlouden - November 5, 2013

    get writing chic pea!

    Reply
Catherine Cerulli - November 5, 2013

Oh my…..as a life-long supporter of other people’s dreams, I saw myself in this post. I probably could have written a similar reflection it if I were not engaged with decluttering, supporting a friend, etc etc. 🙂

Love replacing Distraction with Desire. Brilliant! I am going to include Devotion along with my Desire.

Thank you Jen for yet another insightful post. Though I could chastise myself for pausing from my work to read your post, I am saying loud and clear, you are a Dose of Delight and Inspiration, not a Distraction. 🙂

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    jenlouden - November 5, 2013

    thanks Catherine. I’m glad I’m not a distraction. 🙂

    Reply
bjmwriter - November 5, 2013

And for some of us…”championing other people’s dreams while neglecting her own…. uber close to harnessing her extraordinary talents in service to what she wants and then – ” Ah yes. The clear water of a mountain stream, these words of yours. I allow them into my heart, remaining curious. hm. What DO I desire? No, really? Not the escapist thing, the real thing…Much food for thought, water for the thirsty heart, and nourishment for taking tiny and regular steps for our deepest dreams. Thank you.

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Tricia Bath - November 5, 2013

“…because listening to what you truly desire will keep what you want up in your face while infusing you with energy – tons of wiggling wonderful energy.” Amen! This was the post I needed to read today when I was beating myself up for choosing distractions—that served others’ dreams, not my own—this past week. Such a fine line between helping a friend and exploring a passion area. I can so easily pass off my distractions as the latter when in fact they are just busy work, in the name of generosity or service, detracting me from what I really want to do. (Nothing wrong with helping a friend or doing service, but not if it collides with our true longing.) Productivity is a distraction if we’re not choosing our desire. And we should stop feeling so guilty about it! Brilliant post and wise words again Jen! Thank you!

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Suzi Banks Baum - November 7, 2013

Here is what I wrote today before I saw this post of yours. Good to know the wavelength streams across the nation. Thank you Angel. xoox Suzi http://laundrylinedivine.com/6729/jen-louden-gave-me-a-prompt-thank-goodness/

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    jenlouden - November 13, 2013

    love this Suzi thanks for sharing.

    Reply
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Kylie Bellard - November 11, 2013

Oh goodness gracious. It is so much easier to do the things that *aren’t* your heart’s deepest desire. But, as I learn again and again and again (as many times as it takes, it seems), I feel so much more alive when I, well, “follow the aliveness.” Thank you for that reminder. I can just never hear it enough.

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    jenlouden - November 13, 2013

    me neither Kylie, me too!

    Reply
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