I’ve heard from some of you that you want to use this time go do deeper in your writing, but you’re having trouble focusing.

Quieting the mind was challenging enough before we became bombarded by the Internet.

And then quarantine came along and added another layer of noise.

It’s hard to walk away from all that.

You know what happens when you pick up your phone and start checking your email.

Your mind gets hijacked

You get a message about a great deal on an online class being offered, and before you have a chance to think, you’ve clicked on the link and you’re handing over your credit card number.

Or a friend reaches out to make a Zoom date, and you’re checking your calendar and thinking about everything you want to share with her.

Once you’re bouncing around on your apps, you automatically check Facebook, and before you know it, you’re scrolling mindlessly and then clicking on an interesting article.

And there goes your mind for writing.

You probably know by now that putting your phone out of sight keeps you from habitually checking email and social media.

But if you’re like me and you use your phone for meditation apps and music, you might need another solution.

Just as you need to shelter in place to protect your body, you need to filter in place to protect your mind.

By which I mean, remove from your phone everything that tempts you, anything that takes you away from yourself.

Email, Facebook, the news, whatever has you automatically checking, clicking, or scrolling.

Give it a day or two and see what unfolds.

I’m guessing your phone becomes a lot less interesting. 

Without the trigger, the habit has a chance to subside.

And once you’ve removed the old temptation, you can replace it with a new one: your notebook.

Why not leave it open on your desk or on your writing chair with a pen. Let that be the first thing you see in the morning and the first place you go.

Then let your mind roam in that wide, open space. 

The rest will be there later–the messages, the cute cat videos, and the news. 

You can’t shut out the world, but you can choose when and where to engage. You can discern what feeds you and what makes you feel worse.

If you want to filter in place in community, our practice periods continue.

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