21 Day Challenge – Day 14 – Focus

Shiny IMG_1958

I can’t do it all. There I’ve said it. My to-do list on a daily basis would make a Marine quake in her boots. Probably not, but she would surely see that even getting up at 4:00 AM would not help me accomplish the ridiculous tasks I have set for myself.

In truth my list is ongoing, it’s sort of a weekly list, spill into next week, sometimes never get done list. Focus. That magic word has eluded me so much of my Gemini existence. I want to do, see, be so much and believe I can, really believe it. If I focus too intently on one thing, I might miss other awesome things.

My ability to jump from this to that and back again has been a source of frustration to me most of my adult life. Shiny Thing Syndrome. Right now I am actually supposed to be looking for clip art, but I saw the blank page and jumped on it. Hopeless. Others find this to be a somewhat attractive quality.  While I may find the single-pointed focus person admirable and believe I could be that way if I wanted, they may find my ability to let go of the balloon in order to pet the puppy impossible.

My laptop and I have a lot in common. At any given moment there are 5 or 6 programs open, with at least as many tabs and/or pages open within them. No less than 90 files cover the beautiful photos rotating as my screensaver. The more that is open the slower it runs. Hmmm.

I throw a bunch of balls up in the air with the best of intentions only to either become overwhelmed and duck and cover or lose interest all together and wander off. The balls drop, some roll away, the ones that are left will get tossed up again.

It is with age and perspective – possibly an iota of wisdom  – that I have learned to appreciate my way of being. It has its challenges, but I am aware of them now. I have smoothed some of the edges and refined some of the processes. When I get caught up in the list and the lack of check marks I can just shrug a little, promising to do better next time.

Whatever better is.

I know I’m in danger when the list has become the priority rather than its contents. When I let go of a physical list there is always a mental one.

Focus. Let go. Focus. It’s a distillation process.

When I was in India I remember watching an elderly man in the country side from my bus window. He was some sort of shepherd. He had a handful of goats and he seemed to be walking them from here to there. I remember thinking, but what does he do? What I was really thinking was how does he measure his success? Then it hit me. He doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. He is being, not doing. It was such a revelation for me, that someone could be content just by being content.

He has no list, no schedule, no time card. For all I know he doesn’t even have a birthday or a permanent address. What he does have is peace.

I have no goats, but I can have peace, I just have to see through the mirage shiny things. The yoga helps, the writing gets it out and photography brings me present. These are the doing practices that help me be with the rest of it.

Focus. Let go. Focus. Be. Repeat.

[Photo: Catching the morning light making shiny things out of nature. Just add water.]

21 Day Challenge – Day 4 – The Wiley Ego

white birds IMG_1496

Challenge Day 4. Today I thought I was going to let myself down. My plan was to be up at 5 as usual, do some Yoga Nidra to ease into the day, write, go to an 8 am yoga class, followed by 30 minutes at the gym (did this Tuesday and it felt great), lunch with a friend, a couple of hours in the afternoon wherein I would fit work, photography, writing and ANOTHER Yoga Nidra. Then dinner, writing and hanging out in the family room of the Enchanted Living Facebook Group Page. To bed with positive vibes and a smile in my heart.

Here’s what actually happened.

The muse roused me at 3 AM. On the dot. Really? Come on. She begins dropping words into my brain and they form these delicious sentences. The words get louder and louder and impossible to ignore. They take on an importance that I fear I will lose if I fall back to sleep. So I slog to the living room crack my laptop open just enough to slide my fingers into position, because opening it all the way would sear my retinas at this ridiculous hour, and hammer out a few sentences. Satisfied I have appeased the muse I press the screen back onto the keyboard and sit back. Now what?

My body was ready to go back to bed. Lobotomized of thoughts my mind now roamed the dimly lit halls unable to conjure a direction. I asked it to sleep, it refused. So at 4 AM I did Yoga Nidra. I was able drift away to a nice sweet space and let go a little. The soothing voice on my ipod relaxed the synapses in my brain enough to allow me to wander back to bed where I eventually found sleep. And sleep I did, until 8!  The day was half over!

The mind being what it is – a naughty, unruly child – already had me reclining on the back porch drinking wine, eating Ruffles and reading a trashy novel by noon. I failed to meet my schedule.

But with all this “inner work” that tiny little ember of the Self has grown stronger. So while my mind carried on with its slithery speak of, “why change? You’re good. Take a day off from that nonsense, you deserve it,” my Super Self was quietly reorganizing my day.

Write now. Work now. Go to lunch. Work a little more. Do some Yoga Nidra. Take the 5 pm yoga class. Search all day long for light and shadow, movement and stillness and have the camera ready. Go to the gym tomorrow after the 9:30 yoga class. You’ve got this. Don’t let the mind on the corner entice you with free samples of artificial freedom, you know the difference. Thank the sandman for much needed rest, put on your big girl panties and start your day.

And that’s pretty much how it went.

The morning shifted a little when I got a call that “those white birds” were back at the nearby pond. Yesterday they were flying back and forth and I was hoping to capture one in flight. No luck. I wanted to try again today. Instead of driving the mile or so up the road, I took to the sidewalk. The weather was perfect. I’d get my walk in and take a few pictures. This way I could kill two birds with one stone or if you prefer, shoot 20 birds with one Canon.

When I arrived at the pond I only saw a few birds. I was a little disappointed at first, but as I edged my way around the perimeter, popping acorns announcing each step I took, I noticed a little movement out of the corner of my eye. When I looked up I found a tree filled with angels. Then another tree. They had moved up. As I watched, some of them took off and flew away. I was still unsuccessful in capturing them clearly in flight. But tomorrow is another day and maybe I’ll get another call.

I got it all in pretty easily once I sat that dramatic ego in time out and let the Super Self work it out. I retire this evening with hopes of a good night’s sleep and look forward to whatever magic awaits tomorrow.