An hour seems like a long time when you’re waiting, but when that’s all you have to devote to something you love, it can go by in an instant. In the moment, it never seems like enough – that one extra hour. But that’s probably because I’m easily distracted. I see something or think of something that needs doing and I feel a strong urge to “get on it” – even if I’m already involved with something else.
Perhaps it’s a fear of forgetting something important that has me changing directions all the time. But when I examine it closely, half of the things I’m distracted by aren’t even all that important. With a life that’s full and busy with people, places and things, how can we stay focused on what really matters when ten thousand things are demanding our attention?
Like right now, in the middle of writing this blog, I’m distracted by all of the tasks awaiting me – the fact I didn’t finish packing up my things to take to work today and of all the places I have to stop along the way. Ah, and that new FB notification thing that pops up in the lower right corner of my screen – I have to remember to turn that off!!
It’s New Years Eve and our dance studio is hosting a HUGE New Years Eve party. There are a million things to get done. My mind has its own list a mile long. As the manager, I feel like the success of the whole adventure is resting in my hands. I’ll be leaving my house soon with yesterday’s dirty dishes still in the sink and Christmas wrappings scattered like fallen soldiers under the tree. Should I really be taking the time to write about priorities and focus?
I’m not an expert on organization, by any stretch, especially when it comes to time. But I’ve learned a thing or two about focus for when it really matters. For example, writing my blog is important to me, even though it has no tangible return. It’s something I have to “make” time for. It isn’t a given. It is a time when distraction is at its worst. (My hands feel dry – I need lotion).
Distraction is worrying that something is slipping out of our control. Maybe it’s the mess accumulating in our house while we spend time playing with the kids. Maybe it’s the growing string of “other” emails piling up while we finish a letter to our best friend in Kansas. When we try to focus on something we enjoy, it’s easy to feel nagged or pulled by our “duties.” We worry because we’re afraid. We’re afraid because we lack faith and trust that the Universe has our back. It’s easy to feel like the world rests upon our shoulders and we are all alone.
I know this feeling well. My whole life I’ve felt that if I didn’t do “it,” it wouldn’t get done, at least not well. Leaning on others for help and support is still hard. But failing to recognize that help is all around exposes my lack of trust in both others and the Universe. It’s hard to believe that our deepest desires are supported by a force greater than what we could ever manufacture with our worry and fear. Believing all is well while we focus on what’s important takes great faith that the Universe supports what we want – that our lives and the fulfillment of our desires matter on a grander scale.
Focusing on those things we say matter, our relationships, our dreams, and our own self can be difficult if we haven’t learned to value these above all else. The old saying, “put your money where your mouth is,” might better be stated, “put your attention where your heart is.” We tend to put our heart last, not trusting the power of its own special form of wisdom. But the reality is, what we love matters! It’s what the World really needs.
So, the ability to focus on what matters really comes down to one simple thing, trust. Honestly, it took me longer than an hour to write this blog. I admit I got up at least five times during the sixty minutes and went over by a half. But the ability to remind myself that getting the blog done today mattered more than the fuzz bunnies under my stool kept me coming back to the page.
In order to put everything in your life on the back burner for a bit requires a deep trust in both the necessity and urgency of your vision and the power that lies behind it. Once you realize that distraction and worry are just forms of fear, it’s easier to put those thoughts away, at least for an hour – at least until you’ve had a chance to remind yourself why you came here and what it’s all for anyway. The important things in your life need you, now, if only for an hour.