Avoid "Hocus Focus," Set Your Gaze

Much of this week and weekend have reiterated to me the power and importance of focus.

Whatever our level of consciousness, we always have 100% of it. The question is, what do we do with this power? 

I've shared before that when I don't have a clear focus as I run, my eyes drift and my mind wanders. This is true in the rest of life. 

For much of this weekend, I was in my head. I was thinking about how off-track I am on some of my goals. I was choosing to be overwhelmed, frustrated, and found myself taking things personally. 

It felt like I defaulted to some decidedly less-than-stellar versions of me that I haven't had to be with for quite some time, at least to that degree. Whether or not that's true, I know what was missing: Having my focus set in the proper place.

What you focus on expands... And how you see is what you get.

When I become preoccupied by what I cannot control, how I am missing the mark, or what someone else is doing wrong; guess what am present to? All the terrible things. How do I feel? Terrible. What do I do about it? Stew, and, well, nothing. I make myself the victim, and I pout. When I focus on what is going right, what I can control, and orient myself to see every challenge as an opportunity to learn, I reinstate my personal power. I set a focus that helps me move forward. My future gets bigger and brighter. Other people are not threats, they are meaningful points of connection and sources of insight. Even on a particularly shitty (even if almost entirely self-inflicted) weekend, there were bright spots. My daughter's hugs. Great action-oriented conversation with my wife. Rest. Sweet hospitality from family and reaching out of friends. Life didn't suddenly become bright and beautiful, it was there. Did I choose to see it and embrace it? THIS is the question and our perpetual invitation. 

Where and how you look determines your goals, your actions, and your outcomes. Feelings follow focus.  Sometimes the loudest voices of disempowerment and disengagement are not from the outside, but are within me, clamoring for me to shut myself in and shut myself down. How am I seeing God, my circumstances, my relationships... me? What am I giving my focus and attention to, and what is the effect that is having on me? When I prioritize and give credence to the needs and feelings of others, my actions are oriented around making a positive impact in their life. When I withdraw and become self-absorbed and self-loathing, the cycle perpetuates into a downward spiral. Sometimes I just need to stop and ask, "Why am I choosing to look at things this way?" My answers are often surprising and uninspiring. The outcome of asking those questions? I am able to choose a new focus. I am able to reorient. How I act and feel stem from what I give my conscious awareness to. This is the way it works. 

When I run, I experience the interplay of both the physical and mental elements of focus. When my mind wanders, so does my gaze, so slows my pace. When I need to be acutely aware of the terrain, I don't have time to daydream, lest I fall. When I run through a large clearing or near the top of a hill, a surge and sense of expansiveness begins to fill my being along with the landscape. More could be said here, though I guess to summarize I would say this:

Avoid "hocus focus," and orient yourself towards the people and perspectives that are mutually empowering and keep you moving forward.