So, uh, for this post I'm going to focus on one of the four things I chose to really try to improve this year - Focus. (No pun intended. I promise.)
I am super-frustrated in this area right now, so it seems a good time to blog about it. I just met a neighbor tonight. By the way, not something I'm good at. I'm friendly and considerate to pretty much everyone, and once a conversation has started, I'm pretty quick to open up and get deep; but I'm not a good initiator. Maybe I don't have to be. I don't know. Maybe it's good enough just to go with it when someone else initiates. For now anyway.
Moving on. So I met a neighbor, and we seemed to have a lot in common. She initiated a conversation and then invited me inside to see some of her pictures (she's a photographer), and next thing I knew I was giving her a large portion of my life story, nothing held back. And she shared with me just as openly, if not as much. (Not as much mostly because I kept talking and didn't give her much of a chance to share with me.)
And now I'm kind of disappointed in myself. I've really been trying hard to focus, especially since that revelation about choosing my activities so that I can be more "here and now" in each one. Why do my thoughts keep chasing rabbit trails and losing sight of the deer? Why can't I just focus on where I am and be there instead of mentally somewhere else? Why is this so FREAKING HARD for me??
I feel so bad for talking so much and not slowing down enough to really be there, and really listen to what she was saying. I honestly wanted to, but for some reason I was just pouring out so much stuff that I had trouble taking anything in.
So when I got home I typed "I can't focus" into my search engine and found this: http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/topics/quick/concentrate.htm (Sorry, I don't know why I can't get the links to work.)
It's meant for students, but the information is practical for just about anyone, I think. It certainly applied to me.
So, maybe I'm a little attention deficient? It's really hard for me to concentrate fully on any one thing. But it's something I definitely want to work on.
So I thought I would come up with a sort of study plan for my hoped-for mastering of this particular subject. Something that might help me take steps in the right direction. I know that God changes our hearts, so first and foremost I think I'm gonna have to start really praying about this. But, on the other hand, this is my mind, not my heart. So, does God change minds, too? Or is that our responsibility? Well, I think ultimately everything falls on God, so I'm definitely going to pray about this.
But my plan - first, I think I'm going to concentrate on mentally reminding myself to "be here now," like the article suggested. I think that kind of ties into the Bible verse about taking every thought captive... I'm thinking that if I can learn to be more aware of my thoughts, I'll be more likely to keep my mind from wandering.
Second, I'm going to try to be more conscious about choosing certain things to focus on - one or two at a time, and two only when it's necessary (example, I have something on the stove and need to leave the room to change a diaper or whatever). I'm going to try really hard not to get a bunch of things going at once.
Third, I'm going to try to set aside certain chunks of time to just think about stuff - important stuff - so I'll (hopefully) be less likely to try to think about it when I should be focusing on something else.
Fourth, I'm going to do only one housekeeping chore at a time. If I'm doing laundry, I'm not going to start cleaning the bathroom while the laundry is still going. If I don't have anything else to do, I'll use the waiting time to think about important stuff, blog, or here's a novel idea, just rest. That whole thing about "be still and know that I am God"? I'm not so good at that. But it's definitely something I'd like to be good at.
So. That seems like a good way to start. And I'll keep making lists to help me focus - that way I don't have to constantly keep thinking about what it was I was going to try to get done that day - I'll just have it written down so my mind will be free of at least one more thing.
I guess that's it for now. If I come up with some other practical ideas to help me work on this, I'll post them later. And I'll try to remember to post stuff about my progress, too. That'll help keep me more accountable as well as letting all of you see how it's going.
All right! Signing off for now.