Hocus Focus

If we’re captivated by life and our primary form of control is our focus, then practicing the ability to direct our focus should be a high priority. BUT life is so good at capturing our attention, that the act of redirecting our attention is a difficult thing to do.

And we certainly do want to control our focus because it improves our experience here. Why waste time engaging with unpleasant things, when we can engage with the best of what life has to offer instead. In other words: the answer to all our problems is proper focus BUT controlling our focus is like trying to rein-in a raging bull.

For example, imagine focusing on joyful thoughts that evoke delight instead of dour complaints. Imagine focusing on the sensation of comfort in one part of the body instead of an ache in another part. So in essence, imagine focusing on everything right and wonderful instead of what’s wrong and unpleasant — how great an experience would you have if you did? But no, that seems to be a hard thing to accomplish.

I know this, because I’ve read about this concept and written about it for YEARS and I’m only a little better at. Whenever I have the realization that I need to direct my attention, my mind wanders somewhere else in the very next moment and I forget about redirecting my focus.

I suppose my question for the universe is this: how can I better control my focus in order to have the best experience possible?

For example, I have a slight headache right now. If I distract myself with something, I forget it’s there. YET, for whatever reason, my mind keeps wandering back to the discomfort. WHY?! Am I simply a masochist that enjoys the sensation of pain? Proper focus literally cures my affliction yet I seemingly refuse to apply it.

That strange routine surfaces in every area of my life. Anxious thought? Just don’t focus on it, and you’ll no longer be anxious. Focus on it anyway!!! Something annoying you? Focus on something else instead. No, double-down and doubly-focus on that annoying thing!!! Hm. I guess I’m just a masochist, or an idiot.

But just imagine the super-power of selective focus. Something bothering you? Simply alter and maintain focus on something better. Are you being eaten by an alligator? Simply look at the lovely sky above and appreciate the tweeting birds singing their lovely songs. With selective focus, everything is awesome. No longer would you be subject to the whims and ways of an unruly mind, YOU would be in control and you’d obviously select the best of what life has to offer to focus on.

So what have we learned here today? Proper focus fixes problems BUT it’s difficult to do. Also: if focus affects our lives to the degree that it does, this demonstrates the non-physical nature of reality. Proper focus is essentially lucid-dreaming, an awareness and control of our experiences. If you want the best life possible, proper focus is the path you must master.

Focus Part 4

Preamble: I’m engaging in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

Present day (yesterday actually):

To see their smiling faces as they saunter up the walkway as I open the front-door fills me with delight. To hear a greeting begin with “Dad!” makes my heart melt. I wonder what goodies they may have returned with. Ooh I spy something I like!! Now just have to wait till supper.

At supper, my wife sets forth an effort-filled feast as usual. Last night it was Mexican, tonight Korean. Tastes and perfumes pour forth, dancing upon the palate. I eat until full. We tend to watch something entertaining while we sit together, commenting as it plays. The food’s good, the company’s better.

After supper our tiny family heads to the beach. A frolicking little boy leads the way. My wife plans her birthday dinner months in advance as I laugh. Nothing but the best for my lady. Fog rests over the ocean but a white light makes the sky like quartz. The din of the high-tide, the too cool breeze, and the soft sand makes for a full sensory experience.

Before bed I spend time with each in their own way. How could this experience of existence be anything but my very own dream comprised of the simple things I love. I’ve certainly done nothing to deserve this gift — I’ve simply been willing to receive it. Reluctantly at first I admit, but now I embrace and appreciate it. Thanks life.

Focus Part 3

Preamble: I’m engaging in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

In the not so distant future:

My eyes open. I’m excited to wake up. I see the blue skies and sun from the balcony before me. I walk out and settle into a comfortable spot, surveying the picturesque scene. I inhale and exhale, enjoying existence. From there I feel the benevolence of life — how can this world be anything but my ever-present caretaker? Thanks, I say.

16 hours later…

As sleepiness sets in I gladly retire to the bedroom, a sanctuary of sleep. The perfect temp, the perfect airflow, the perfect sounds, the perfect softness, the perfect coverings — everything seems so right, it’s so easy to drift off. My eyes readily close as I remember how much I appreciated the day before. Thanks, I say.

8 hours later…

I’m awake. Looking over I see a beautiful scene as morning light illuminates the landscape. I’m filled with gratitude as I lay for a few minutes taking it in. I feel warm and comforted by the incoming sun. I saunter over to the balcony and stand amidst the splendor, and breathe. Nothing enters my mind as I remain tranquil, simply gazing out upon the beauty before me. Thanks, I say.

16 hours later…

I’m happy to sleep. It means the day has come to a close and a new one is soon to begin. It’s a new experience everyday and sleep simply serves as the gentle transition. I lay down on a mattress that’s just right, rest my head on a comfy pillow, cover myself in breathable sheets, I sense my appreciation then close my eyes and drift off into a delightful dream.

Focus Part 2

Preamble: I recognize that I lack proper focus. I’m not focusing enough on what I prefer. And by not focusing, my mind readily wanders over to what I don’t prefer. Because of that, I’m going to engage in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’m writing them, as opposed to just thinking them, because writing is something I do nowadays. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

In the not so distant future:

So the windfall came in. I’m a lottery winner. You’ll laugh of course, thinking I’m joking. And I will be, but not in the way you think. When you finally do believe me, you’ll laugh again, this time about how unbelievably lazy I am: first in my unwillingness to put forth any external effort, and then in my lack of creativity in devising a means to make money. But I’ll remind you that I did play the game, I entered into an ancient covenant by moving into a trailer-park several years ago thus aligning my fate with a lottery win. You’ll laugh again at my silly antics, at the stubbornly offbeat way I choose to go about my journey through life.

You’ll wonder where I’m going next, then like after a Super Bowl win, I’ll declare: “I’m going to Disney World!!”. And I will. I’ll stay at several of the deluxe resorts, a few nights each, as well as the new Four Seasons from where I’ll make an appointment to browse some properties over at Golden Oak. Just think, they developed an actual residential neighborhood literally right down the street from Fort Wilderness, my childhood dream home. It would be downright disrespectful of me not to look. You’ll laugh again about what a goofball I am for wanting to live with Mickey and the gang. But the puzzle piece fits — why else does such a place exist?

Who knows though, I like having options, I’ll live where ever it feels right. But Disney World has always felt like home. Just walking into the lobby at the Grand Floridian feels right, especially at night when the band’s playing. A bunch of years ago, we had a vow-renewal at the Wedding Pavilion right next door. Although I’ve visited the Grand Flo many times, I’ve never actually stayed overnight — so perhaps that’ll be the first stop. And I think my wife always wanted to try the large guest-only pool at the Beach Club, so that’ll be another stop. I always enjoy walking around the Boardwalk area and going through the International Gateway into the France pavilion, now it’ll be right next door.

And when I tire of pastries from the Boulangerie-Patisserie, maybe then we’ll go stay at the Four Seasons and tour the houses I mentioned. I reckon I’ll be able to stop over for a day-visit to Fort Wilderness next-door too. You have to keep in mind that some people’s lives are dedicated to creating these magical places — and what good would that devotion be if there was no one to appreciate it? Imagine you develop an awesome thing but nobody gets it. With Disney, I get it. I want to be there. I appreciate the spectacle, the show that’s put on by cast members each and every day.

There’s all sorts of roles in this grand play we call life, somebody’s gotta be the wealthy patron. I know that’s my role, I feel it. When my undemanding ever-appreciative over-tipping family shows up, it’s gonna make people’s day. “Gosh, what a nice family that was!”, “Hey Rich! Wow, nice to see you back! What can I get for you today?”, “Of course I’ll get you a refill, it’s my pleasure!”, “Don’t worry Rich, your reservation is all set!” I’m no longer going to be embarrassed about my silly dreams. This whole world is an amusement park, and I should be doing what amuses me — that’s how you live life right!

P.S. Of course I haven’t forgoten about you, Celebration. I’ll go and visit, heck I’ll probably check out some homes there too.

Focus Focus Focus

Preamble: I recognize that I lack proper focus. I’m not focusing enough on what I prefer. And by not focusing, my mind readily wanders over to what I don’t prefer. Because of that, I’m going to engage in some exercises to practice directing my focus. I’m about to paint some positive mental pictures. I’m writing them, as opposed to just thinking them, because writing is something I do nowadays. I’ll be writing about situations in which I am engaged with life and enjoying myself. These stories won’t apply to anyone but me, but perhaps this example could demonstrate the practice.

When I was a boy, most times I was either in the classroom or in my bedroom. But when we went camping, boy it was a whole other story. As soon as we parked, I was out the door and barely returned until our trip was over. I was free, ridin’ my bike, meetin’ other kids, money in my pocket, goin’ to the arcade, grabbin’ a bite to eat, explorin’ everywhere I could. Life was a vacation, the days were the perfect weather with perfect temperatures. What were authority figures? Responsibilities? Twernt nothin’ but distant memories soon outweighed by fun and freedom.

Now mind you, I do enjoy the good life — make no mistake. Although some nights I slept in a tent, it was sittin’ but feet from a large motor-home with all the comforts of home. One of my favorite places to visit was a Yogi-Bear themed campground. You could see me tearin’ down those dirt roads on my bike on the way to play mini-golf and grab a slushy at the snack-bar. And once in awhile you’d catch me swimmin’, canoein’, or even fishin’ in the river that flowed lazily alongside the campground.

But my most favoritest place? Well shoot, you know it has to be Fort Wilderness in Disney World. If I coulda lived there I woulda. Just a kid ridin’ my bike down to grab some french toast for breakfast at Trail’s End! Mmm just thinkin’ ’bout it makes me remember how much I loved it. Just hand ’em my card and it was all paid. There weren’t no stoppin’ me there, I was out and about livin’ however I pleased. Heck, one time me an’ my friend grabbed a bunch of newspapers from the dispenser and delivered them to campsites just to be paperboys for the day.

My favorite excursion while there was always boardin’ the Magic Kingdom boat from Fort Wilderness. Twas a magical journey from the frontier to a realm of pure imagination. My second favorite excursion was the Monorail to Epcot, it was like travelin’ into the future, a world of tomorrow. Boy, did I love Spaceship Earth. And nighttime twernt nothin to come in from, why that’s when the light-shows and fireworks would be in full-effect. Transportation ran the same either way. And the rides in the parks, why those would be walk-on at that point.

I suppose what I loved was the limitlessness to engage. Pickin’ and choosin’ from the buffet that was laid before me. There were no thoughts of complaints or “I can’ts”. It was paradise made manifest before my eyes.

P.S. You’ll have to forgive my drawl y’all, but I’m originally from southern Massachusetts — so sometimes my heritage peeks through. Been readin’ a bit of Tom Sawyer recently too, probably had an influence….