We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, February 18. 2012
What's the difference between wholesome obsessions, distractions, avoidances and diversions - and unhealthy ones? (I am not speaking clinically about obsessions and compulsions here, but just in the layman's sense of the words.)
The difference is in the purpose, not so much in the thing itself. The most common ones we all see in daily life are:
- TV, radio, and listening to music
That covers most of life, doesn't it? Trust me - I am all in favor of fun and productivity. Not one of these things is necessarily unwholesome - except when they are used as avoidance of something or things. That usually - but not always - means when they are not done in moderation and in proportion.
Why do so many of us have our best thoughts and insights in the shower? Because we aren't doing any of those things in the shower...generally speaking.
Only the mentally strongest people - and I do not include myself in that category - routinely face their anxieties, worries and fears; routinely deal with every responsibility or burden immediately, or routinely face their relationships or the realities of themselves: their weaknesses, their guilts, their unsettling thoughts and feelings, their disappointments and sadnesses, regrets and remorse, boredom, loneliness, or empty feelings - or just "being with oneself."
There is an expression in AA: "Move a muscle, change a thought." It's good advice if one is avoiding a dangerous thought but it's bad life advice if one is avoiding thoughts that need to be considered and faced and maybe even acted upon.
If I decide on a Saturday nap after two hours of tennis in 90 degrees, fine. But if I decide on a nap (maybe without realizing it) because I am worried about paying the bills, not so fine.
Having kids is a great diversion and distraction. For years, it will fill your life with preoccupations and duties which have the advantage of being truly responsible and loving. But when they get older, you face yourself again.
Therefore, whenever I find myself immersing myself in something, I try to remember to ask myself why. That's not obsessive navel-gazing, it's just common sensical self-monitoring. "Metacognitive," as they say.
And when I drive, I try to leave the radio off - so I can listen to the real news about what is going on with me, my soul, and my life.
Otherwise, I'd be out of touch.
Photo is a 1923 Silvertone radio
Random post-storm thoughts
Many neighbors still without power etc. At some point, it gets a little old. A hot shower is one heck of a fine thing. A few more of my storm photos were posted earlier today. You can get the phone co. to forward your regular phone to your ce
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it's amazing how many two or three-time winners there are in 12 step programs. big tendency to just replace one addiction/distraction/obsession/whatever with another. and another..and another! darn the serotonin imbalance!
ok, I will cancel my therapy appointment. I t was more fun having this conversation over the internet with myself and Dr. Bliss. lol
Let's see if I've got this straight... You want me to stop tuning into Maggie's? I'd be lost!
Is it so wrong to want to be distracted sometimes? Why?
I treasure my distractions -- like Maggies and jappy and jephnol and neptunus lex. I'm not giving them up.
Marianne, you're a wonderful distraction! (And you say the nicest things).
On your cue, I am exploring the unbearable lightness of Lex! :)
Perfectionism and procrastination are my big enemies -- reading the doc just now it dawned on me that i've been using the two 'em to fight each other -- for example, if you procrastinate long enough, panic ensues and the perfectionism goes out the window -- you can tackle that job without the massive self-induced pressure to do it such a way that ...hmmm ...well whaddaya know -- i have an invisible critic just waiting to criticize everything i do -- never realized that before -- i'd been thinking i just had "high standards" --baloney -- it's Harvey, or maybe Harvette -- and whatever it's a jerk -- hey great post, doc! I'm gonna boot the invisible critic starting now -- uhh maybe
well, there's big difference btw distraction and an unhealthy coping mechanism...it's wrong if it interferes with your life.
I never have any good thoughts, or insight while I'm in the shower. I start by washing my hair, and work my way down to the middle. Then I wash my feet and work my way up to the middle. Then I wash Mr Pleasure, and I ain't tellin noboddie what my thoughts are when I'm washin Mr Pleasure. Is this sharing to much Dr Joy? Am I still normal? Nice post, bella. I still like the picture of you. Instead of the radio. : )
Marianne, I am honored, to be a distraction in your life, but who the Hell is neptunus lex? Is he Italian? If he is I don't like him. : ) ciao bella!!
Keep reading Maggie's, even it's a sickness!
My point was, in fact, that it's a matter of proportion. I was prompted to write this bit because I found myself obsessing about a new tennis racquet. (Tennis players know that a new racquet is a big deal.)
Anyhow, I figured out why I was spending so much time on this silly detail of life. Fact is, I am fine with my current racquets.
One must learn to let thoughts pass through one's mind lest one find oneself creating a whole new psychology to justify the obsessive thought.
Great post - though as a somewhat, perhaps overly reflective person, I've found that even ostensibly sensible self-monitoring can take on an obsessive or diversionary quality. "Is this really what I should be doing...or just a distraction...or maybe this is the real thing and that's the distraction...or maybe I'm just in denial about some other problem." It can get to a point where anything seems a denial of or distraction from something else. And eventually I realize thought's not the answer to all these questions...something else is. Which is where real, joyous, mystical life begins, I think.
Years ago a friend said if you are comfortable in your own skin then you've probably got the responsibility v avoidance thing about right. Best advice I ever got.
I don't see what crisis this is avoiding.
Leave the radio on.
Ron, the crisis is behind the radio. There is a 20 inch dust bunnie back there. Dr Joy, wants to buy a new tennis racquet, instead of cleaning her house.
get the new racquet. the wilsons are amazing and it will change your game just like the driver changes mine. and it is a cheap toy considering it could be a baretta.
It's all about that full-time interior dialogue. Proof that it's a dialogue rather than a monologue is right there in the fact that there are questions under scrutiny -- is this enough of this? Not enough? Too much? What does it mean? --and on & on et cetera & ad infinitum.
So here's the question: since a Q&A dialogue requires two entities and one of them is you, who is the other?
IOW, in the term "yourself", who is the 'your' that your 'self' belongs to?
either a trick question --or the language is telling us something.
Donald Barthelme recommends an interior dialogue instead of living with a woman. I have that copied out somewhere...
``Because something is always being cast up on that beach, as new classes of girls mature, and you can always get a new one, if you are willing to overlook certain weaknesses in the departments of thought and feeling. But if it is thought and feeling you want, you can always read a book, or see a film, or have an interior monologue. But of course with the spread of literacy you now tend to get girls who have thought and feeling too, in some measure, and some of them will probably belong to the Royal Philological Society or something, or in any case have their own 'thing,' which must be respected, and catered to, and nattered about, just as if you gave a shit about all this blague. But of course we may be different, perhaps you do care about it. It's not unheard of. But my main point is that you should bear in mind multiplicity, and forget about uniqueness. The earth is broad, and flat, and deep, and high. And remember what Freud said.''
or what he asked -- "what does a woman want?"
Heh, you can bet that whenever that question is asked, the answer is whatever it is the asker ain't got --
buddy ... he also said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
But MM, in a simpler world, what else would a cigar BE but a cigar? In reminding us that sometimes things are as they appear, he makes the point that usually they aren't (and thus maybe we'd better drop by the office & talk it out --LOL).
Geeeessssh. I must be one sick puppy because I honestly don't have any worries or fears these days. I don't fret over my personal weaknesses---they are what they are and so what?---or have unsettling thoughts or regrets or remorse. I'm not bored or lonely, and my only anxiety (obsession?) is whether I'm a good enough photographer to handle the expensive new Nikon D800 DSLR camera that I ordered a month ago. Maybe I'm going to have to up my game. Well, okay, that's a problem I'll face when the new toy arrives in April. Every problem has a solution. Until that glorious day, my friends, it's don't worry, be happy!
Wow --those comments from July 2008 --on the topic of avoidance --i can see now via my own comments then that i was avoiding like mad --freakout avoiding --what was happening in the markets --and politics --and the world. Disasters were intrained and around the bend! And me too! Going 'round the bend! hOoHaW!
Excuse my bluntness, but the central purpose of life is the avoidance of death.
Not that it matters, but that radio is 15 years younger than 1923.