Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Countering Annoyance at Distractions and Focusing My Priorities

Originally posted on October 22, 2010

Increasingly in the last year I’ve grown noticeably slightly annoyed at all manner of things, activities that were distractions to my growing focus. I’ve been a little bit puzzled by this reaction, since it seemed new. Then I realized that the annoyance was an externalization—as if the lure of other things was being promoted by “them,” calling to me, tempting me to do all sorts of things—join this, buy that, give to this, do that, join this, give up that. But it has all been a projection of my own inner sucker, the part of me that doesn’t want to miss out on anything, that wants to buy, have, and achieve everything that is greedy. I was annoyed most of all at this vulnerability to temptation—it represented my younger, more immature self.

I realized that this is what middle-kids go through at their annoyance at being confronted with kids who embody or enact behaviors or attitudes they consider baby-ish. They are trying to escape from the lure and the illusions of their own inner baby, and want to take a stand against all manifestations of this regressive attitude. Of course it’s easier to notice in others. When Jesus suggested that we cast the beam (or big stick) out of our own eye before commenting on the mote (or tiny splinter) in our neighbor’s eye, this is the dynamic of projection he was alluding to.

I resolved to use such feelings as an opportunity, a nudge from my own subconscious, to affirm my own purpose, mission, aims, as my time in life grew (relatively) short. I do want to focus more on high priority, and find myself disturbed when I’m derailed from this goal. This seems to be a discipline of taking responsibility that is needed for this challenge. I knew it was foolish to blame the sources of distraction: They’re not doing anything other than their own thing! It was my temptation to join them, or feeling guilty for not joining them, etc., that was the real goad.

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