Focus & Attention
Hello Life Artists!
Welcome back to the weekly video training to embody your creative experience!
Today’s topic is FOCUS. I believe we are 100% brilliant when it comes to focusing – but that is not what we believe about ourselves is it? In this 3 part vlog, I want to explore with you, attention and focus as a physical experience.
The focus is one of the hot topics of our time. We are getting busier and busier and it seems less focused and more distracted.
Yet much of the information on focus out there is geared toward strategies to stop distraction. Yet the question I ask is:
Does the effort to stop distraction truly teach us what focus is, how it is experienced, how to create it and maintain it?
I believe that when we are embodied and involved with life, we naturally focus! And I think the effort to shut out distraction is exactly what is driving us to distraction. Instead of following our interest, our pleasure, our excitement, creating experiences that give us energy and joy and connecting with life and each other, we instead are focused on keeping life out and each other OUT. It’s as if engaging with life has become the ultimate distraction.
Strategies for productivity and efficiency are indeed helpful, needed and effective, but in this three-part vlog, I wish to give you a different experience. Instead of practicing to keep out distraction, let’s train to use the power of the body to create and practice states of natural focus
Week one: 5 Basics of focus as a physical experience
So, let’s get started – we are going to start this week with 5 Basics of focus as a physical experience
- I maintain that focus is a whole-body experience – involving not just our head as we tend to normally “do” focus – but our whole body. Basically, Focus is a physical state which uses our energy and attention to perceive our surroundings and adapt to it. This kind of relaxed high performance is often timeless and full of energy, pleasure, and movement. It is a sensual, physical experience, far more than “thought” alone. It feels like interest, engagement, curiosity, and connection, quiet in our thoughts, space, and flexibility, ease and energy. Our perception is wide, three dimensional, and we are sensor ally in touch with the now.
Think about those moments when we are in flow – that magical state we so want – isn’t it very little thought and very much experience?
Contrary to what you have been taught – that focus is hard to achieve – peak performance or flow states are natural to our body and not only possible to create – but to maintain and repeat. The primary key lies in embodied states of attention.
- Focus is expressed in the now! It is not busy with past or future but with the present moment. If you think of what you are most often distracted by – its worries and self-doubts from the past – and worries and self-doubts about the future. But Focus is a now thing. Eckhart Tolle has expressed this so beautifully in the Power of Now.
The great thing is that our body is constantly in the now, present. Tuning into our physical experience as a body – connects us easily and powerfully to the NOW. We could exchange the word focus with presence.
Focusing on the present moment is to experience what’s going on now; where am I now, what is around me now, how do I feel now – as a body. I call it giving yourself a now update to pause the endless running forward in the mind and to just stop, relax the rush, the push, the worry, the “must”, the doubt and to refocus and embody our attention to our now experience.
And remember – your body is the one who is doing your actions – it is the one moving, perceiving and implementing your experience – it is the one writing, speaking, playing the notes, telling that story, taking action towards your aims — and all of these actions – your body is doing now.
- When we approach focus from the body – we experience that focus is a movement. Focus is, therefore, best created (and maintained) when we are in movement – this means not only within our physical movements but also in the movement of our attention. Meaning the ability to move between states of expansion and contraction – to tune in to the details as well as expand and relax outward again. This is what we call “perspective” and this movement of perspective – for the body – is the movement of contraction and relaxation. Narrowing and expanding. It is related to our breathing in and out, and our ability to be flexible. Flexibility is the ability to control our muscles – to contract or relax them to allow movement – towards taking action – to respond and adapt to whatever is needed at the moment.
As we increasingly narrow our movements and close in our range of vision – lowering our head to focus for hours into smaller and smaller screens – moving less and less, our attention begins to match this. The less practiced we become at expanding our viewpoint, our movements and our attention – the more threatened and insecure we are outside of our habitual way of seeing things.
We can see this mirrored in our world today as we increasingly struggle to communicate with each other and find common ground on subjects which are important to us. We see this narrowing of attention in our creativity as the fear of trying new things, of taking new steps and meeting new or challenging viewpoints.
We are creating and innovating within abstract worlds, but within the quality of and lived experience of our life – we are suffering and full of fears. We are self-absorbed – becoming increasingly critical of any other perspective than our own. Anxiety, attention, and depression are sharply on the rise – and we are lonelier than ever. For all our innovations we seem less satisfied, less healthy, less joyful, less communicative and our connection, health, enjoyment, and involvement with life and each other are suffering.
The way I see it – this experience of our lives is simply reflecting the narrow focus we are practicing. The more we narrow our focus – the more life in all its expressions becomes as if a distraction. We are losing our ability to self-regulate and zoom out, see each other, the bigger picture and what’s truly important to us – to take part within our environments, community and ultimately within reality.
- As bodies, we are intimately tied to our environment. From an evolutionary standpoint – our ability to focus has kept us alive – and has allowed us to innovate and prosper. When we are stuck in zoomed in mode – physically narrowing our vision, fixating our head position, not looking around us – then the millions of expressions surrounding us become distractions. Essentially Life becomes a distraction!
When we are wide and expansive in our perception – our energy is not spent trying to keep life OUT but is engaged with interacting, connecting and adapting to our surroundings. Our focus then becomes about letting life IN instead of keeping something out.
For the body, and our being – this expression of wide focus is health and creates natural states of relaxation. We can assess our self in relation to our surroundings. If I can look wide and see danger as it is approaching – I can act. If I can feel and experience life and the people around me, I can involve myself in the safety and co-creation that community brings. When we are well, safe and present – we can relax – and instead of contracting to keep life and others out – distractions out – we let life in. This relaxed and open state of focus allows us the perspective to connect and create with pleasure.
- And remember – our body will not stay where it is threatened, or in pain for long – so distractions are a way for our mind and body to get you to move to a state where it can return to stasis – or a less “threatening or unpleasant” situation. Most of us have been trained to stay in unpleasant and unhealthy situations – ignoring your bodily signals of distress and harm. So, notice when you are uncomfortable and check in – is this really my desire? Does this feel good? Then practice attention to your body, creating a state of wellness there, and focus as a whole being!
Focus & Attention IN SUMMARY
- We are embodied and involved with life and we naturally focus! Our effort to shut out distraction is exactly what is driving us to distraction.
2. Focus is a whole-body experience, a sensual, high energy expression and interaction with our momentary actions.
3. Focus is expressed in the now! It is not busy with past or future but with the present moment.
4. As a physical experience, focus is a movement.
And remember –
You are the Creator – when you embody your creativity – you manifest your dreams!
NOW JOIN US IN THE COLLECTIVE
The place where we talk it out as a community – get involved, share your truth, your struggles, thoughts, and wins!
Answer this questions to yourself and comment your answers below!
1. Tell us; what do you tend to do, what strategies do you use to focus? What is your experience of focus in regard to creativity?
2. How did shifting your attention to your physical experience and creating states of energy – expansion, and relaxation allow you to focus? How did you feel after training, and how do you plan to integrate this into your life?
COMMENT AND GET INVOLVED BELOW!
Creative D.R.I.V.E. in ACTION
Weekly implementation to deepen your practice! Simply do yourself a favor and while working with these questions – STAY PHYSICAL!
- Take a sheet of paper: write down several areas where you are desiring focus.
- Explore how you tend to focus physically – what areas in your body contract, how do you move or not move, breathe, become?
- Remember a state in which you were in flow -highly focused and effective – explore how were you expressing physically during this state – how do you breathe, feel, move, etc.
- As you explore – allow your attention to include your bodily state, your senses you breathing and physical states.