Yesterday, a woman ran into me because she lost her focus.
Scattered, harried, zombie…she carried a baguette, and too many other cumbersome grocery items in her arms, because she was far too scattered to grab a basket to shop. She was running around and knocked over a point-of-purchase display in the aisle. She dropped twenty dollars on the floor and an honest man picked it up to hand her money back to her, but she was so distracted looking at her phone as three people had to try to get her attention to retrieve her dropped money, she was surprised at all that had occurred.
I calmly commented, “You were lucky that others were paying attention.”
She smiled. “I guess I should pay more attention,” she replied.
Just as she said this, a self-check-out opened up as another man jokingly said,
“Oh, so you’re trying to take cuts?” because she did not see she moved in front of him and yet did not take the open check-out, but he was aware enough he could have jumped in.
However, he was too nice to do this even though she was not even aware to notice him standing there, and that he could have bulldozed with a ‘you snooze you lose” initiative. Instead, he patiently waited because his consciousness realized she was so harried, she needed to get out of there, even if she wasn’t aware enough how to do this.
She not only missed the joke, she missed this politeness, she missed someone else’s awareness. She even missed what she had done by her actions, and did not even thank the person who returned her twenty dollars. She also missed the fact she stated to me that she should pay more attention, but did the opposite and did not walk her talk.
And it was this incident, that prompted me to write what you are reading now.
So many people miss “I’m sorry,” “Thank you,” and so many lose focus on the daily gifts of common courtesy, luck, kindness, respect, from others. But in general, most people cannot even stay on task.
It broke my heart to see that a human was missing so much quality living in the breath of a moment and clearly needed to be guided back to this position, but couldn’t even receive all of this courtesy RIGHT THERE from everyone in line to acknowledge, receive, share, never mind return pleasantries.
- How many thousands of other humans are missing all of what I had witnessed?
- When you were a child, did you find it easier to sit and read a book, play a game or sport without distractions?
- How about when you sat down to draw, create, or do your homework…was it easier to concentrate and zero in on what you were to do?
This is known as childhood Zen of being present in the moment.
It is precisely why when we were kids, leisure time was so r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g even if physically you had to ride a bike for miles or mentally tackle 100 pages of reading – it wasn’t a task, it was enjoyable.
Today as adults in the tech-device-driven world of ‘short attention span,’ multitasking and juggling, and the A.D.D. ‘shiny object syndrome’ of going non-stop, cramming in as much as possible into an hour, even leisure time suffers enormously.
People who take long holiday weekends or vacations don’t really ‘vacate’ their minds because they are connected to this newly integrated conditioning as the ‘new normal’ and it is disrupting the LINK OF FOCUS for many so that they never ‘fully recharge’ themselves.
This energy depletion cycle affects sleep cycle, health and wellness, well-being and actual real-time productivity. Thinking becomes scattered, stress increases and anxiety when unplugged becomes paralyzing for many who cannot cope with what used to be normal as a childhood Zen, affecting quality of life enjoyment.
When we examine how people used to watch television, actually doing only this task compared to today with people social networking simultaneously as they are watching television, while recording something else or even streaming multiple programs at a time, the question remains…’what is retention?’
Working in advertising, marketing, and media I challenge analytics to ask “are these figures real… truly for real?”
When we can begin to see just how what used to be ‘down time’ is multi-cylinder alert time without any real focal point for the brain to digest wholly, retain, or adequately recall in detail, is this authentic attention? Is it only a partial impression and not a full one? Does it even count?
Examining real life and ‘real time’ human connection, full engagement of focus is not only necessary in our day-to-day, but for emotional, mental, and physical health, it is imperative to fully develop focus.
So let’s have some fun in the recall department and ask yourself:
- · What is the most detailed event you can remember each day of this week?
- · Where were you at 2:15 p.m. yesterday and what did you hear?
- · When was the last time you laughed and what was the context?
- · Who were you talking with last, who said the words “I don’t have enough time?”
- · How many people did you notice yesterday who were actively having present-day awareness?
- · When was the last time you can say you had fun without checking your phone/email and how long was the timeframe you ‘let go?’
- · Why do you believe you cannot answer the above questions accurately with clarity and detail?
If we take a step back to analyze our own consciousness day-to-day, how present we are when we work vs. how present we are in our leisure time, we can begin the healing/repair process of our cognitive function and our overall well-being and health.
The process of reigniting your focus link starts with a small step and simple exercise.
First, at lunchtime try to recall every detail using all of your senses and take in what is happening around you – from what you see, smell, hear, and then pay attention to what you are eating. Put your phone away and don’t look at it during the entire lunch hour. Actually taste your food, digest it, let it linger on your tongue. Feel the sensation of slowing down in the moment during your lunch break instead of Hoovering and rushing back to work.
Do you notice a difference in how you FEEL? This is the first step in actually enjoying a quality time childhood Zen-like moment. It’s a first step and a small one, but it is a big deal to more than half of the population. If you don’t believe me, look up and look around for yourself to see how many people around you simply CANNOT do this. If you can, you are automatically ONE STEP AHEAD by doing this for yourself.
If you practice this frequently, you can begin the process of reigniting your focus link to being present in your life, something you constantly read about, but nobody tells you “how” other than to meditate, which most people cannot do if they cannot do the above first, simply because they cannot shut off their brains long enough to zone out.
Give yourself some time in mastering this ‘return to childhood Zen.’ You know how to do this, it is not like you are starting from scratch to learn something new, just simply REMEMBER what it was like when you didn’t overload yourself and deliberately decrease your quality of life and self-impose deadlines and behaviors that you were not born with to begin with.
And perhaps then, you can return to being human! :D
If you fail at first, keep trying. Isn’t that what you learned in elementary school?
Just remember that learning to focus is in itself elementary, reigniting said focus will help you graduate to bigger ways of enjoying your life on a whole other level.