I stepped out the front door this morning to head to work and noticed that the tulips I had planted were looking particularly lovely all covered in raindrops. I set my yoga mat and my lunch bag down on the porch and swung my backpack around to fish out my phone. Then I walked around to be in front of the house and I started taking pictures. I was in full on photoshoot mode when I noticed that someone’s car alarm was going off. Then I realized that the annoying alarm sound was not a car alarm. It was my house. I had set the house alarm as I was leaving but then I never actually shut the front door. I hadn’t even attempted to shut that door. It was just standing there, wide open. I jumped up and ran inside the house and disarmed the system before someone could call me or the cops or both.
You have a minute after setting the alarm to get out of the house and shut the door. This is usually not a problem for me. In fact, there have been times when I have shut the door and realized I had forgotten something. I have unlocked the door, gotten back inside, grabbed forgotten thing and gotten back out again before my minute was up. This morning, I didn’t even think about it. I just dropped everything and went into photography mode. I guess it was a good thing I wasn’t also carrying a baby or a Faberge egg. I let myself become distracted. The key word is ‘let’. We hear so much about how the average person is always distracted, mostly by their phone. There’s checking emails, catching up on Facebook, reading the latest tweet and scrolling through Instagram. Rinse and repeat to see if anyone’s noticed your post or added something new. One minute, you’re writing up some report for work and then next minute you’re watching kitten videos. These distractions not only keep us from doing the things we are supposed to be doing, but also from the things we are meant to be doing.
Here is what I hear when I think about this story: I was distracted by the beauty of tulips and I had to photograph them. The reality is I was distracted from the beauty of these tulips by the alarm ringing away inside my house. The process of making sure the front door was closed was the distraction that pulled me away from the thing I was meant to be doing. Rewiring the brain to think this way is hard. There are times when I am pausing to take a picture or editing a photo when I have to pull my focus away from someone who demands attention. I try to be polite about it and try to be sneaky while I am doing those things so that it looks like I’m working at paying attention to the person who is talking at me (because usually that’s how it goes). So often I feel bad about this and the result is that I end up not taking the picture I wanted or editing the photo the way I wanted. This is so stupid because this photography thing (and this is really not easy for me to admit) is who I am. Taking photos and all the stuff that goes along with this art is the thing I meant to be doing.
Everything else is the distraction.