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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

A World Full of Distraction

All parents have phrases they use over and over. When I am trying to get my children’s attention, especially in a situation that involves safety, I find myself saying, “Focus.” There is something about the use of a single word and the word itself that calls them to attention.

It seems we all need to heed the warning to focus from time to time. Our lives have been overrun by distractions, and these distractions are preventing us from experiencing life to the fullest.

It’s time to move from distraction to focus. Living a less distracted life is the path to peace and happiness. But it is impossible to simply say we will ignore the siren call of the myriad distractions that stalk us day and night. We need something to focus on if we are to ignore their constant and seductive beckoning.

Distractions are the siren call of the culture. The origins of the siren call can be found in Greek mythology. Sirens were creatures, half bird and half woman, who lured sailors to their destruction with the sweetness of their songs.

There may be more distractions than ever before, but distractions have always presented danger for humanity. Homer wrote about this in his epic tale The Odyssey eight centuries before the birth of Jesus.

Odysseus was one of the most influential Greek heroes of the Trojan War. The Odyssey is the story of his quest to return home after the war.

The goddess Circe advised Odysseus that the Sirens sat in a meadow filled with rotting bodies, waiting for ships to come by. They would sing irresistible songs to lure men to their doom. Sailors would steer their boats closer to shore to hear the melodies and would end up crashing their boats on the rocks.

Circe told Odysseus to plug his men’s ears with wax, so they would not be tempted to steer their ships off course in the direction of the Sirens. Odysseus further ordered his sailors to tie him to the mast, and to leave him there until danger had past, no matter how much he begged them to release him.

Are you living a life of focus or distraction? What distractions have taken your life off course? What distractions are trying to lure you to your doom? Do you believe a life of focus would be more fulfilling than a life of distraction?

Like Odysseus we all need Circe’s warning.

Odysseus plugged his ears and had himself tied to the mast. What will you do to save yourself from distraction in your own odyssey?

Distractions can be alluring and seductive. They can be entertaining for a time, but a life that bounds from one distraction to another will inevitably become an empty and meaningless life. This tragedy is all too common. Don’t let that be your story.

It’s not too late to chart a new course. It’s not too late to set aside all the trivial distractions and bring meaningful focus to your life. Allow the principle of Holy Moments to guide you in each moment from this day on, and you will soon find yourself sailing toward the most beautiful sunset of your life with the wind at your back.

Émile Coué, the French psychologist, is famous for the mantra, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” I had a teacher as a child who encouraged us to repeat it to ourselves when we were struggling academically or athletically.

Many people look down on such techniques, and yet it is breathtaking how powerful they can be in our lives. The mind is a powerful tool.

I am reimagining it now: Every day, in every way, I’m creating more and more Holy Moments.

Say it to yourself over and over. Use it to focus. Train your heart, mind, and soul to seek out opportunities to collaborate with God and create Holy Moments everywhere you go.

Matthew Kelly

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