Life is full of interruptions. Some are important.
Most heroes in stories, myths and legends get interrupted. Without the interruption, there would be no memorable story, no hero.
A hero’s journey always begins with what's termed a call to adventure. A call to adventure is an interruption to their normal life.
David was playing his harp to his father’s sheep when he was called to be king of Israel. Jonah was fleeing for his life when he was swallowed by a whale. Cinderella was contentedly sweeping the hearth when she was rudely accosted by a fat woman with a wand and wings.
Without the interruption we wouldn’t have heard of these people. David would still be guarding sheep; Jonah would still be running from his enemies and Cinderella would still have a sooty face.
So, interruptions are important.
Our lives are full of interruptions. It’s rare we start a task at home or work and it’s completed without at least one interruption. Our days are punctuated by frantic family demands — ‘Where’s my other striped sock?’; questions from colleagues — ‘Have you finished that vital report about banning soggy sandwiches in the cafeteria?’; or important announcements from the government — ‘Head for the bunker!’
The word interruption comes from Latin — inter meaning ‘between’ and rumpere — meaning ‘to break’. Interruptions give us a momentary break between the continuous stream of living we’re currently caught up in.
A personal example. My employment for fifteen years in a bookshop was unexpectedly interrupted by the business closing down. So, I studied for two years and landed a job I find challenging and fulfilling. If the bookshop hadn’t closed, I’d be there still. Now I look back at that interruption — that disruption to my life — with gratitude, although at the time I found it daunting.
If we weren’t interrupted, we’d lead an undisturbed life. Our days would form a continuous stream of whatever we chose. Our thoughts, occupations and connections would unfold unchallenged.
Interruptions are challenges to our day. Some are worth taking notice of and following, to see where they lead. Others are reminders that we want to get back to what we were doing before the interruption.
Living with Mindfulness
Interruptions momentarily stop us. They force us to pay attention, to re-evaluate what we're doing. Interruptions are a doorway into the present moment - an opening into what's really going on in our lives.
Interruptions may raise important questions:
Shall I leave the sheep and go to be king? (David)
Shall I stop running from my enemies? (Jonah)
Shall I put aside my broom and take a chance? (Cinderella)
Shall I pursue a course of study and begin a new career? (Me)
Even unimportant interruptions are important — because they show us what is important to us.
For example, to Victor Hugo it was important to finish Les Misérables. From start to finish, it took him 17 years to write that novel. He would’ve had countless interruptions during that time, but I’m glad he dealt with them as quickly as possible and got back to dipping the quill into the inkwell and writing the next word of that masterpiece.
Interruptions highlight what we want to let go of, and what we want to continue to concentrate on.
Interruptions help show us the way.
Here's an interruption worth taking note of! Take up the FREE 7-Day Mindfulness Challenge. It will show you another way to live.