“Energy flows where attention goes…”
Many of us feel that we are at the whim of life – just keeping up, just doing the best we can, just taking it as it comes. When we live like this, we begin to judge and control what comes our way because it fundamentally defines how we feel.
That thing that happened with the family or that thing that happened at work is ______ (fill in judgingly descriptive word here, like “crappy,” “bad,” “hard,” or “challenging”) because it makes me feel _______ (fill in feeling word here, like “stressed,” “scared,” “sad,” or “angry”).
Or, conversely, that thing is _______ (“great,” “good,” “wonderful,” etc) because it makes me feel _______ (“good,” “happy,” “successful,” “confident,” etc).
Both these sentences depict a state-of-being that is dependent on an external factor. And while experiencing feelings as a result of the world around us is normal, it can get us in trouble when we can’t control the world around us. In other words, when we live the majority of our day from this perspective of life, we start trying to control life, and at best, we start having a really strong opinion about our day and letting others know about it. And if there is no one to hear us, then we start telling ourselves, which can be draining and stressful to our inner listener.
I’ve noticed this in my own life. When I feel that my ‘to-do’ list is rivaling the length of the yellow-brick road, I can feel, too, like I’m keeping up with my day rather than feeling like I’m meeting my day with presence from moment to moment. This is my preferred experience of a day and I find that this experience is something I can influence, so I let myself have an opinion and feel invested. The other day, I became aware of feeling like I was keeping up, so I took a deeper look at where this experience was coming from. How did I get myself into feeling like this? I felt revved up, out of the moment, disconnected, and worried. And through that investigation, I was reminded…
I was reminded that we have the power to focus our minds wherever we want. It’s our freewill, our right. And when I start focusing on the tasks in front of me rather than the emotional state I am bringing to the tasks, I start to feel like I’m keeping up. Fascinatingly, when I’m disconnected from what I’m feeling in the moment, I start to just show up to the ‘to-do’ list; meaning, I start to focus on “getting things done” and reacting to life, rather than consciously creating my day’s experience!
“But what if I don’t want to feel what I’m feeling in the moment?” you ask. I hear you. And I’ll say it like this, awareness of what we are feeling has nothing to do with whether or not we have to feel it long term. Bringing awareness to a feeling we might not want to feel – like overwhelm – simply gives us the opportunity to choose something different. Recognizing our ability to influence our day can be a total game-changer, and it starts with recognizing how powerful we are.
Sharing personally again, I was running through my list the other day and I was feeling disconnected. My disconnection was amplified in the reflection of the landscape I was driving through. Breathtakingly beautiful fields of green, thick canopies of trees blowing in the wind, the sun shimmering over a vast lake, and mountains reaching out of the horizon into a blue sky. Yeah, if you’re seeing that and you don’t feel anything about it, I advise you to stop and check in. So that’s what I did. I stopped. And I simply turned my attention to my state of being. I noticed I was running through what I had to get done that day, but at the expense of being present (which, by the way, can make getting things done sort of painful). I took a breath and re-focused my attention on the wild amounts of gratitude I have for my life right now. And suddenly, the scene around me became brighter. I heard birds I hadn’t heard, I felt the temperature (yes, the windows were down), I felt the air move through the car, and I reached over and turned on some music and started to sing. Guess what? I got to where I was going in the same amount of time and I got all the things completed that I had slated for that day. And guess what else? It all happened inside a rich and full experience of presence. How did I make that happen? I chose to shift my focus. From overwhelm to gratitude. I decided to activate the feeling I wanted to feel and bring it to my day. I became a conscious creator.
When we choose what we focus on, we let life off the hook. Yes, we stop blaming life and external circumstances for “making us feel” the way we feel. Instead, through our awareness, we bring agency to the moment and energize an emotional state of our choice. External circumstances can influence us only to the degree we allow it. Am I a total pro at this? Nope. Do I need reminding? Yes. Does this teaching give me access to living a more satisfying life? One that can support others and celebrate a beautiful day? Yes.
In conclusion, I invite us all to keep caring deeply about life. But let’s care a-heck-of-a-lot more about what’s happening inside of us rather than what’s happening outside of us. Focus on what you can control rather than giving your power away to that which you can’t.
Enjoy Discovering You!
The Power of Focus
Let’s all practice shifting focus from that which contracts you to that which expands you. Take the wheel with both hands and start to discover your innate power of influence. We are such powerful creators. Let’s band together to consciously create our daily life, accepting what life brings, and deciding how to feel about it.