What is it about focus these days that makes me want to lose it?

I am so in love with the world. Absorbed in everyday magic. Everything is a marvel. I am happily wandering around my life with eyes wide open, drinking in the juiciness of life. Every flower, every gentle breeze, every clever thing that a child says, all reasons to drop what I am doing and just celebrate.

It is such a relief to be on this side of the pendulum.

Much of my adult life was spent in frantic, fast paced, hyper speed focus. I was focused like a laser on very practical things-mostly on work and bank accounts and house maintenance–not because I wanted to be but because I was afraid. I was certain that if I didn’t march through completion of all these tasks, if I didn’t fill my garbage can with completed to-do lists, if I didn’t keep up with everything perfectly well…I would get fired, I would lose my house, I would lose my husband, I would lose my son, I would go bankrupt, I would get sick, I would have no health insurance, I would be hated, I would be lonely, I would fall apart and I would DIE.

But, an interesting thing happened. I realized that no matter how hard I tried to keep all the balls in the air some of those things happened anyway. But I also realized that even when it all falls apart, it doesn’t mean it ALL falls apart. When Juan left me my productivity at work dropped. So my co-workers stepped in, supported me and assured me that me at 50% was better than me at 0%. I didn’t go bankrupt, but I did have horrible financial troubles and I learned to live simply, to let go of my attachments to stuff as measures of achievement. I also learned how to ask for and accept help. There were times when Max and I ate cereal or popcorn or even icecream for dinner but he is strong and healthy, eats plenty of fruit and vegetables and now has a taste for whimsy. I learned that the world doesn’t fall apart when you stop spinning like a whirling dervish. In fact, it actually comes together quite nicely.

But now I am left with a new problem. Without all those negative gremlins in my head driving me through the tasks of my day, I have no motivation. I am so good at rolling with it, adjusting, and somehow making it through, so practiced at optimism and embracing the beauty, I am not getting the laundry done, not minding the smaller details of life, not getting the library books back on time, not able to focus on my Very Important Work (the work that pays the bills). I am so wrapped up in stopping to smell the roses that I have no time for anything else.

No longer being driven by fear I am having a bit of hard time getting going.

I am just beginning to learn the art of working not to avert disaster but for the joy of it.

Its true, you know, it I don’t get off the blog and get my workplan done RIGHT NOW, I won’t get fired. My co-workers will empathize and they will assure me that I will get it done. But I do need to do it because it is important. It will make things happen. It will add good to the work to the world. Allowing myself to be driven by this new gentler force is an interesting challenge. Embracing this motivation is so new to me. It doesn’t come easy.

But, at the same time, I know that I am not a complete beginner. There are whole swaths of my life where love is what puts things in focus. Every stitch of my mothering work is guided by nothing but pure overwhelming intense love for this child I have been asked to shepherd. I am also motivated by love in doing for my community, in caring, in knitting for someone dear to me, in making soup for a sick friend or new mom. I can whip out a workplan to help a dear one and move into campaign mode, a general, razor sharp when it comes to a plan to surround those I love with love.

Why is it so difficult to translate this to plumbing? To taxes? To gardening? To laundry? To my paid work? To keeping the house together? To all the things that I used to do out of fear. How can I find the motivation for these things.

This is an interesting part of my journey, this seeking new focus. I am curious about how you do it. Can you tell me? I would love to hear your thoughts. What are your ideas for how I establish new habits to keep me focused without fear?

4 Responses to “Focus”

  1. Karen Says:

    For me, it starts by getting out of bed. The discipline of getting out of bed when the alarm goes off translates into all kinds of discipline to get started because It’s Time to Start. Oops. Now It’s Time to Finish!

  2. angharad Says:

    i think it will come with time. the pendulum swings and we esttle into new rhythmns

  3. Karen Says:

    What helps me to get household chores done is that I remind myself that the things I’m doing (laundry, cleaning the bathroom…) are actually act of love that I am performing for my two sons. Yes, *I* should be worth a clean bathroom, but knowing that my sons will benefit from my work is more rewarding for me.

    I lack in the motivation dept. too. I am a procrastinator to the nth degree.

  4. Another Meg Says:

    Lady, I am having the same issue. I put off important things thinking oh well, they’ll get done. But they don’t do themselves. I just started a job that, while part-time, will have me running hither and yon pretty much every day, and I will no longer have the luxury to lollygag throughout my life. Will I rediscover my focus? Signs point to “yes” with work; but I am wondering more about focus on home & family life. Stay tuned…