Awareness, Spiritual Journey

How To Stay Focused Amidst Infinite Distractions: 5 Tips

Is it just me, or is the world a highly distracting place right now?

It seems like every second the universe dangles before me some new opportunity or idea that makes me want to leap.

I feel like a cat in a yarn shop.

I want to go there…no there…now over there…and there’s that one up there.

Pawing away endlessly…madly…

Not knowing the yarn is laced with cat nip!

If it’s all an illusion of the thinking mind, then why does it feel so real?!

It’s exciting to be alive right now.

But, it’s dang hard to stay focused.

If you’re like me, then what you want can change from week to week.

Some basic fundamental things stay the same.

But theoretical realities have a way of drawing me in.

So how does one stay focused in this highly distracting world?

For me, the medicine is: routine.

I know, it’s boring, and not sexy.

But it works!

My mind is quite vata, airy, prone to movement and anxiety. So routine is incredibly important to maintaining mental stability.

I stick to my morning routine every day, and this serves as grounding throughout the rest of my day and cohesiveness from week to week.

I wake up, make a hot drink, meditate, and move before I do anything else for the day.

In the evening, I practice yoga. Before bed, I journal about my experiences and always include a gratitude list.

The journaling opens a space for me to honestly examine my progress towards my goals on a daily basis, and filter out ideas and opportunities that are not aligned with the direction I want to take.

Once a month or sometimes once a week, I write my goals. I make sure they are clearly articulated with deadlines and visible to me every day.

Some people like vision boards, but I have yet to make one.

I also like to write down my goals on pieces of paper, and place them in a special wooden box on my altar.

By writing down my goals fresh every month (or more often) AND journaling daily, I am better able to discern if a given tempting opportunity or idea aligns with my goals and values.

Many times they don’t.

But sometimes they do.

Often, these ideas are yearnings that come up from my heart. I know I need to pay attention to these.

Especially the ones that come up again and again over the years…

Those need to be honored.

Living as a Buddhist nun at Gampo Abbey, a monastery in Nova Scotia, was one such desire that I had allowed to simmer for over 10 years.

Another such desire is to climb all 58 of Colorado’s 14ers (peaks 14,000+ feet tall). I’ve had this desire since I climbed 12 of these peaks back in 2013.

Mt. Elbert, 2013, highest peak in Colorado. I could feel Mother Earth lifting me up here! Photo Credit: Joel Norris, certified hiking buddy

The key is to let such karmic seeds ripen.

By karmic seed, I mean the moment you first had the desire. In this moment, you planted a mental seed.

Then, you wait until the karmic seed ripens and matures–which may take a lot of TLC in the case of a business, or may be a completely hands-off waiting game–before you enjoy the fruit of your desire.

It’s not a good idea to force manifestation before it’s time.

When the time is right, the time is right. Go!

But not a second sooner.

Or even worse, never get around to doing it at all…

When I have such a strong desire, as hiking all of the 14ers in one summer, I know I have to take action.

But, I must also weigh my desire against my business goals.

Can I swing it? And if so, when?

Is there a way I can be organized and prepared enough so that I can take the time off for such an adventure?

Turns out there is.

Another important thing to remember is that saying yes to one desire means saying no to others.

This can be as simple as the desire for weight loss. In order to bring your ideal body weight to fruition, you must say no to the desire for unhealthy junk food or the temptation to overeat, binge eat, or emotional eat.

It could also mean saying no to sleeping in every morning. I’ve been waking up at 4:30 every morning, so I can work on my business and prepare enough ahead of time to free myself up to travel more and ultimately take my 14er excursion this summer.

Short-term sacrifices often mean long-term rewards.

Recap of the 5 Tips

  1. Routine can help you stay focused.
  2. Clearly articulate your goals and values. This can be lists with deadlines, placing notes on your altar, and/or creating a vision board.
  3. Journaling may help you sift through countless ideas and opportunities to ensure you only say YES to the ones that are aligned with your goals and values.
  4. Allow karmic seeds to ripen, AND take action when the time is right.
  5. Use discernment and say NO to desires that don’t align with your goals and values.

Namaste, friend. You too can be a focused yogi!

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