Archive | February, 2012

Focusing

23 Feb

In yoga there is a balance pose that entails wrapping one’s leg around the other while standing with a semi-bent leg and then placing one’s arm over the other arm and twisting them into a pretzel-like shape. The only way to hold the pose without toppling over is to stare straight ahead at a point on the wall and not dare take your gaze away – not even for a second. I am actually quite good at this for some reason. Perhaps it is because I learned a similar technique as a child in ballet where in order to turn without getting dizzy you have to “spot” somewhere on the wall as your head and body spin around in rapid succession.

Activities like yoga help us practice more than physical actions; they help us apply some of these concepts into our lives. How do we find balance? And how can we execute and accomplish anything when so many things compete for our attention?

When I was a kid my father was a trial attorney and sometimes during a big case he would move us into a hotel for a few days so he could work completely uninterrupted. I was allowed to bring a friend so I had something to do and our task was to leave him free of distractions. Well we don’t always have the luxury of physically removing ourselves from things that derail our focus. However, I am finding that in this day of cell phones, email, multiple social and work circles, personal relationships and all of the things that compete for our attention, moment by moment I have to ask myself, “Where is the spot on the wall?” There are times when I simply have to tune out everything but the one thing that needs my focus be it a person, a lover, an animal or a complex task. Yet more than anything I have to focus on God as my source. He is the spot that keeps me sane and when I remember that, it is easier to concentrate during the day.

Related, Stephen Covey in his very well known book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” writes about the importance of centering one’s life around key priorities vs. abstract tasks. The latter is endless and will always bleed your life force while the former will actually help you stay centered and efficient around what really matters.

I must remember that as long as I spot, I can find my balance. And I must remember that this is a spiritual practice vs. yet one more thing I am attempting to control. Here’s to focusing so intently, the paradox results in surrender.

Falling at 42

12 Feb

I have always loved watching re-runs of the BBC program “As Time Goes By” on PBS not only because Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer are brilliant but also because the show has been a beacon of hope that finding love later in life is possible. I loved that two people in their sixties could have such a vibrant and tender love affair/marriage. In fact years ago while working in a nursing home I witnessed a 75 year old woman and 95 year old man fall in love and get married so I suppose I should have known that anything is possible. However, when you’re 42 and all your friends are married with kids, you begin to wonder if you really will wind up as that crazy old cat lady who has never been married.

Well amazingly, sometimes fate takes a turn at which point you say, “Thank you, Jesus” and accept the miracle. But here are a few tidbits I’ve discovered while in the process of starting to fall in love, yes, at the ripe old age of 42.

When you’re older, you don’t make nearly the same mistakes you did when you were younger, nor do you take things or people for granted.

When you’re older, you know much more what you’re looking for.

When you’re older, you are infinitely more comfortable in your own skin and you know your worth.

When you’re older, you realize love isn’t easy to find and there aren’t a thousand fish in the sea. If you get a good fish, you don’t catch and release.

When you’re older, you know that you could die any day from this point on and so you make each day count, each moment count, each kiss count.

When you’re older, you know that much of love is about being lucky. You thank God for grace and you don’t fall into the trap that long married folks do of assuming you’ll always have someone. Instead you treasure the person for dear life because you know already what it is like to not have someone.

When you’re older, while you may be more prudent and wise, you know the joy of love due to its absence and thus you become silly and young all over again.

When you’re older, you fall just as hard if not more so but this time you pray.

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