A Month of Less Distraction – Day 24

Posted by Steven Russell on Thursday, July 24, 2014

This week hasn't been too bad. I’ll say that about half the time I drive I start out breathing and can pretty much eliminate the distraction of other drivers annoying me, and the length of stoplights making me angry. I will consider this great progress. I’d like to consider it consistency, but I’ll take progress for now.

Speaking of distractions, I played and sang a funeral today for the father of one of my yoga students. It’s strange at such an event to feel sad, on one hand, for the situation, especially of someone I know, and on the other hand, to feel good that I can provide a service to them at a time like this. People have asked me how I can possibly sing at a funeral with all the sadness and emotions associated with the event. I sang and played at my mother’s funeral. I’m not a crier in general, so I can’t say that it’s difficult to be able to breathe and sing while other people are very sad and the situation is distracting in that way. Perhaps after performing at somewhere well over two thousand funerals, I’ve learned how to focus my attention on the task, or away from the emotions present in the room. I’ve been able to focus in such a way for many funerals of people I knew, family of friends, victims of tragedies, suicides, 911 victims, and the like. Of all of them I can only recall one where I had to stop singing because of emotions. An infant had died shortly after he was born. The father and mother were distraught. Generally they don’t recommend having a funeral mass for an infant, but they insisted. The young father, mother, and their two other children were dressed in white. The infant was in a small white coffin at the front of the church. I kept telling myself, “Don’t look at them.” I got through singing at the entire mass in this way until the end, when I looked up while singing the closing song just in time to see the father pick up the small coffin and carry it up the main aisle with his family following him. I choked up and had to stop singing. That’s the only time that I can recall becoming distracted in that way.

So if I can focus my attention that well in those situations, then TV, driving, and overeating should be a piece of cake!


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