My office is in my home. When my kids were younger they would often come tumbling in to interrupt me and ask me for help of some kind – help with homework, help finding something – it was a bit of a problem. I had my daughter, Ruchi, make a special sign out of a coat hanger that said I was busy. The plan was I would put it up on the door when I didn’t want to be disturbed. That only lasted a little while. I guess I liked being disturbed.

They’re only young once. It’s hard to say no. Of course there are those times when I really needed solitude to get something done, but most of the time I loved seeing them come in and felt lucky to have kids who wanted to spend time with me. These are the welcome interruptions.

There is so much that impinges on life, not giving you a choice. I now look out for those unexpected events that stop the continuous flow. I am just beginning to practice welcoming them. I am better at it some days than others, but when I am able to gracefully make the switch I enjoy the unexpected nature of their emergence.  The continuity seems broken at first, only to discover that it was just my mind that turned the unanticipated twist into something unwelcome. When I can get out of my own way, it is just an unplanned activity. Surprises can be fun, too!

Yesterday I was walking down the streets of San Francisco recording one of my VisionaryTalk.com videos, spouting about a recent conversation with one of my clients, “hacking strategy.” A homeless guy stepped up to me while I was making the video and gave me a big smile. He threw me off balance with his grin and it took me a sentence or so to recover. I kept the video and published it because he was so happy I didn’t want to expunge his cameo. (You can see it today at VisionaryTalk.com – it’s the first video and takes place just after 2:50).

In a world of incessant interruptions, I look for the happy ones and practice asking them to join in as the joyful distractions they are, pointing me toward the present moment where there lives the only hope for the great experience of being alive. 

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans
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– John Lennon