Generator Question: What’s the difference between a PASSION and a DISTRACTION?

Designed to Blossom participant (a Manifesting Generator) asked a great question. He wanted to know the difference between a genuine passion (or response), and an unhealthy coping  mechanism or distraction. In his case, he brought up the his love of movies and sports. Here’s my response:

Love this question! I vote for a permission-giving approach to the passion identification and exploration process. As is often said, the best writers are the best readers. Who knows? Maybe one day your Sacral Center will lead you to write a movie script that’s involves some intrigue on a sports team! And this will all have been essential research.I’m often surprised at how often my seeming ‘unhealthy curiosities and past indulgences’ end up informing my present service… This can happen in several ways.The content of the thing we’re calling a distraction, like a movie, can actually come in handy when least expected. For example, because I allow myself to watch movies that attract me (whether they’re obviously enlightening or not), I often find myself sitting with a client, and feeling inspired to share about a scene from a movie. And that sharing ends up opening us up to a surprisingly deep and healing conversation.

The fact that I allow myself to follow a genuine impulse can land me in a place, or with a person, where an unexpected door opens. So, let’s say I was into sports, and I couldn’t resist buying tickets to a Giant’s game. (I love that I’m using this as an example; given my total ignorance about sports.) I might end up sitting next to someone with whom I really resonate, and either end up with a new friend, an inspiring conversation, or an important connection.

I also want to say that I like that you’re asking this question. It’s an important question. Because in the end, ‘where we come from’ when we’re doing something is so much more important than what we’re actually doing. You can be watching a movie or sports game out of pure pleasure and passion. You can have your body’s blessing (sacral blessing, if you’re a Generator).

Or, you can be watching a movie or sports game to avoid feeling something important yet painful, or out of a fear of experiencing emptiness, or to escape a confrontation or honest conversation that would be healthy and wise for you to have.

So one moment, watching a movie/game might be just what your Sacral Center needs. Another moment, the very same movie/game might be an attempt to avoid a genuine Sacral Center impulse, or to give in to a pressure coming in through an open center. So it’s really not about the movie itself. It’s about where you’re coming from.

Now, even if you’re watching movies from an addictive or evasive place, that can also — ultimately — serve you and the people in your life… as long as you add a degree of witnessing to the process, and some tenderness towards yourself.

A personal experience of addiction, for example, (which we all have), can lead us down a profound self-development journey. We can learn so much about the art of discernment… differentiating between what is a less than healthy addiction, and what is a healthy passion. Or rather, what it feels like in our bodies when we’ve got our bodies’ blessings, and are engaging in activities that enliven us, or restore us, or relax us, or inspire us in the moment. As opposed to what it feels like when we’re ‘checking out’ in a disassociated way, so that we end up feeling numb, shut down, cut off, uninspired, deflated, depleted, etc.

The deeper we understand the nature and patterns of our own addictions, the more nuanced we become in our capacity to discern between genuine self-loving acts and subtle self-numbing acts, the more our hearts open to anyone who crosses our path who is suffering from some form of an unhealthy addiction or coping mechanism, and the more able we’ll be to help them break free of the unhealthy part of the pattern with self-compassion, patience and creativity. (Without throwing the baby out with the bathwater)

One last little thing about the baby and bathwater: Even if we realize that we’re doing something out of an addictive/evasive impulse, it’s often helpful to assume that there’s something healthy in there… there’s something we’re drawn to… a feeling, an experience, a perspective, a need for self-soothing, an attempt at emotional regulation, etc…. that is hiding in that activity somewhere. So I always try to give my ‘coping mechanisms’ some loving attention and a genuine inquiry, before rejecting them hook, line and sinker.

Hope this helps!

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