Focus

I want to begin by sharing a painting by Yannima Tommy Watson, the artist I wipu-rockholementioned yesterday.

It’s called Wipu Rockhole. And I love it.

Now, about focus… Back in the day, and I do mean w a y back in the day, I received training in Transcendental Meditation and as I recall, it was at the end of my training that I received my mantra from my instructor. I thought of it then and now as a secret word, although it was more of a sound. When meditating, I was told to focus on this word.

Over the years, I have read about other focuses or foci that are used during meditation, like the flame of a candle. When studying MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) a few years ago, the suggestion was to focus on your breath. The intention is to stay focused on the present moment, becoming aware of sensations within your body and in your surroundings. The breath makes sense to me as a focus, so that’s what I do.

Another way to think about focus is to focus on a task and that, it seems to me is about narrowing my attention, focusing like a camera lens or the way a beam of light through a magnifying glass can heat paper until it begins to burn. Laser focus is used as an expression of this kind of intense focus. Piercing, concentrated and sharp.

When I write, I try for another kind of focus, one that is a little more relaxed and fuzzy at the edges. There are edges, because I want to keep distractions at bay. However, I am seeking an intuitive space that allows for the flow of thoughts and ideas. Permeable, if you will. Working with writing students and clients, it is usually a challenge to help them learn how to stay focused within the flow of their writing. Real world distractions abound and the chorus of inner critic editors is always on the job.

I often stroll through Roget’s Thesaurus when considering a word, in addition to seeking a formal dictionary definition.  Found this one under focus:  “To draw toward a center”.          I like that.  It opens an entirely new way of considering the word.

Which brings me to focus and choice. Today and every day I get to choose what I focus on. Some days, I find it difficult to stop focusing on anxiety and busy-ness. Today I am going in for a medical test and I am trying not to focus on that, because, of course, my body responds to that focus with stress and it’s companion chemical surges. Thus begins a circular disruption of ‘the peace’ that is no fun at all. However, choosing to focus on ‘the good stuff’ doesn’t always come easily. Gotta work at it.  More about this tomorrow…

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