Thursday, July 17, 2008

Driven By Distraction

"To live exhilaratingly in and for the moment is deadly serious work, fun of the most exhausting sort." ~ Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Do you find your children drive you round the bend? Or up the wall? Do you feel constantly distracted from whatever you are trying to achieve by their needs and demands and wants? Does their energetic, 'never-stopping' lifestyle drive you into the ground or does it serve to keep you on your toes? Are you driven to distraction or are you driven by distraction?

I was recently directed by a colleague to read an article in The Age entitled Driven by Distraction. Like her, it touched me also. At times when I have not had enough sleep, when my husband is away and when it feels everything has fallen onto my plate my delightful little morsels of energy cause me to feel beside myself, to feel "driven to distraction" as the saying goes. However they are what I have chosen to give my energy to, to place all my value in, to devote my entire life to. It is only due to my personal constraints, as mentioned above, that I lose my perspective.

In actual fact they are the ones who drive me to greater creativity through all the distractions they offer me on a day to day basis from sun-up till sun-down. Since having my children I have written many more valuable pieces of writing, written and sung more meaningful songs, sewn creatively useful items, cooked more nutritious food...the list goes on. They are the ones who have driven me to this, they and my wonderfully supportive Generous Gentleman. Yes, there are times when I feel I would benefit from introspective reflection, times of quiet and simply less noise and chatter in the house. Yet it is through the busyness of daily rituals and routine, which are surrounded by that halo of imagination I recently alluded to, that a creative daily life grows.

Today is unique in that my four year old chatterbox is out playing at her best friend's house for a few hours and my baby is asleep, or resting and playing quietly in her cot. I have taken time for reflective writing and left the house in a state of disarray. Not all days are this restful or opportunistic. Some days there is simply no impulse to write or create at all. Other days I try to carry a pen and paper around with me to jot down thoughts and ideas while we play together. Some days when Ess cannot think of what to do I get out my needle and thread, or fabric, scissors and ironing board and work on one of my meaningful projects. Soon Ess joins in with something which has inspired her such as sorting and exploring buttons. On yet other days I sit down at my keyboard and sing and play and watch Eee delighting in the merriment of my singing and Ess dancing and singing along. Oh the fun of singing that golden oldie song "K-K-K-Katie" and creating numerous new verses with new names and new rooms etc.

Most days I live to be in the moment with my girls. I want to be there for them enjoying whatever they are enjoying, creatively thinking of something new for them to enjoy. It is not always easy, not just to give them yourself but also when you do, they don't always take you and your ideas. So many times now my four year old has asked me what she can do only to discard my umpteen ideas which include playing with her things, as well as playing and learning and creating with me. These are hard times, yet growing for each of us. Ess needs to learn to manage herself and create a sense of how she can enjoy a wonderful day. I need to let go and allow her independence to grow, to allow her to feel how she feels, and let her "not do anything" until she finds something which will stimulate and satisfy her.

Distraction comes on so many levels - the interrupted thoughts while you are trying to prepare a meal and read and digest a recipe, the inability to stop and reflect to recompose yourself due to pressing needs of a little one, the cries of frustration from a little one when you are in the middle of attending to a pressing task of your own. All these distractions serve to cause us to reflect on what we truly value. While my life has slowed down tremendously in order to match where my children are at and allow them to take time to learn, to move, to think, I believe I am achieving a tremendous amount more. The value I place on their life, their sense of home, their sense of knowing who they are is incredibly important to me.

So am I driven by distraction or driven to distraction? Most of the time I am driven by it. Certainly this is my ambition, my aim and my desire. When perspective becomes cloudy I will attempt to recall this simple positive phrase and remind myself just how creative all the busyness of daily life can cause me to be. I will also continue to choose to live my simple life and ensure that busyness does not overtake me and my greatest ambitions.

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