Today’s passage opens with a quote from Tillie Olsen which says, “It is distraction, not meditation, that becomes habitual; interruption, not continuity; spasmodic, not constant toil.” In other words, the natural state we lapse into is not one of consciousness, but mindlessness. We don’t stay calm and focused on seeing one task through to completion. Instead, we flit around in a panic trying to do all things at once. Everything is an interruption or distraction when we lack a clear vision of where we are going and the process to get there. That process includes time for ourselves and our work.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“How we hate interruptions, especially when we are working on something important. In fact, when we are working on something important, everything is an interruption. As Tillie Olsen says, distraction, interruption, and the spasmodic seem to be our lot sometimes.
How difficult it is to mesh the process of our life and the process of our work. Yet, how sweet it is when that happens!
One of the reasons that ‘meditation,’ ‘continuity,’ and ‘constant toil’ have not been possible is because we have not believed that we deserve the time for ourselves to do our own work. Just as the addict who is into her self-centeredness is out of touch with herself, the workaholic who is into her workaholism is out of touch with her work.”
When we are in the throes of addiction, we are out of touch with reality. We have lost sight of the correct balance and order to our lives, and for workaholics in particular, it is with regard to our work. We don’t respect our own boundaries for time, treating every project or task that someone brings up as urgent. We allow a constant barrage of interruptions to distract from key projects, and in running from task to task, we never complete our work. We have failed to recognize ourselves as experts, take ownership, and prioritize our work. Carving out time for the necessary steps to accomplish our goals is an important part of the process of work. If we allow interruptions to derail us, we will never see our dreams come true. It takes hard work and grit, as well as self-advocacy. See it through.