I have had guilt over a processing tool I use.


Over the years I have had a number of different individuals, when I hit an emotional spiral and am spinning with my issues, say I have to keep digging.  I do, and I spiral deeper, deeper, into an emotional abyss- brands on my arms a regular reminder that I can pull myself out of the ocean of my heart.

So I sometimes distract myself.  Get up, move, do something different.  Put the emotions on pause, partially dissociate from the experience for a moment, and go do something.  Hang some art, go grocery shopping, write something totally different.  Get myself back on the surface for a breath of air before I dive again.

And I have been told by a handful of folks whose opinion mattered to me, that this was me avoiding issues, procrastinating, or causing myself further heartache by burying my feelings.

There are times when I do those things, and I am working to discern between the two.  But sometimes, if the spiral looks bad… distraction really helps.  Get me solid again, get me functional again, then let me tackle the big stuff before me.  If I can’t breathe, how do you expect me to wrestle?

Today I work towards forgiving myself my need for distraction as a useful tool, acknowledge how useful it is in my life, and slowly move towards embracing how my glorious, beautiful and functioning mind works.


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.


  1. I have often been told similar things, and while I admit sometimes it is easier to put your head in the sand, other times I see it as a survival tool. People often speak of physical limits with respect, as if they are just unquestionable. But emotional limits have just as much meaning, sometimes even more so. The brain/mind whatever you want to call it can only deal with so much at one time. And sometimes those distractions let our brain take a well deserved break, and allow us to return with better focus than we would have had, if we had tried to force through it. I am in my first year of medical school, I have several huge exams coming up next week, just finished a brutal week. Academia says I should be studying tonight, but you know what? I can’t take any more. So tonight it will be a few episodes of mindless TV, dinner, playing with my pets. Distraction, you say? Absolutely. But it is necessary.
    So yes, please forgive, and let your mind and emotions speak just as loudly as a muscle that says enough.
    Peace and blessings,

  2. Sometimes distraction is a way of occupying the physical so that the subconscious can have a go at things. I often distract myself, and come back to find a solution neatly presenting itself in the most random of ways.

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