In the etymological dictionary focus is defined as follows:
1640s, from Latin focus “hearth, fireplace” (also, figuratively, “home, family”), of unknown origin, used in post-classical times for “fire” itself, taken by Kepler (1604) in a mathematical sense for “point of convergence,” perhaps on analogy of the burning point of a lens (the purely optical sense of the word may have existed before Kepler, but it is not recorded). Introduced into English 1650s by Hobbes. Sense transfer to “center of activity or energy” is first recorded 1796.”
How I have defined and lived (or rather not lived) the word FOCUS.
The very first memory that pops up is from when I was approximately 4-5 years old. I was in kindergarten and I was told to sit down and knit a key chain. The teacher explained to me that it would be good for me to do because I had trouble sitting still and always preferred something active. I remember how I perceived it as a form of punishment and I remember perceiving the teacher as being spiteful and somewhat mean. As I was sitting there I was squirming inside myself and all I wanted to do was to get up off of that chair. I remember discussing the concept of time with my teacher as she told me that I had to sit for 2 more minutes. I asked her how long 2 minutes was and I remember that it felt very long.
When I look at my relationship with focus throughout my life I see and experience that I have had difficulty with focus. My ability to focus has specifically been towards practical things like being creative with a project. In such situations or moments I have been able to focus. I have specifically not been able to focus when it came to doing something where I had to sit still and for example read for school. If I read a book for fun I would often read fast and skip pages to get through the book. I have prided myself on being able to multi-task as the positive side if you will – of not being able to focus. So I can – within moderation – read while watching TV and working on a creative project at the same time. I’ve practiced this ‘skill’ over the years to be able to multi-task more and more but I have also noticed how I’m not able to keep my attention 100 % on several things at once. This is one of the reasons why I’ve decided to work with the word focus. The other reason is that I see how it is prohibiting and limiting my to not have focus integrated as a natural expression of who I am.
I’ve also prided myself off of being a ‘fast person’, a ‘fast learner’ and I have had distinct reactions of anxiety towards people that I perceived to be ‘slow’, like people that speak slowly or who move slowly.
I have in previous posts described how I’ve throughout my life existed in a constant ‘running away’ from myself and I see that this is the distinct reason behind me not focusing. So it is interesting to see that the word focus comes from the word ‘fire’, ‘fireplace’ or ‘hearth’. Sitting around a bonfire in the night is a central focal point and some say that looking into fire is mesmerizing so I can understand how the word focus derives from an association with fire. I see focus very much as centering oneself towards a single point, exactly how fire is the central point in a night with a bonfire. I also see how a distinct reaction that comes up within me when I am faced with a moment that requires focus, is that I feel ‘jittery’ like I’m crawling in my skin – there’s a resistance within me towards ‘centering’ or ‘focusing’ myself. How this manifests specifically is that when I am supposed to focus on something – meaning where a particular project/point, like writing an article, requires me to give my undivided attention to this project/point, I tend to ‘distract’ myself. What then tends to sometimes happen is that it takes me a very long time to for example write the article because I every 10 minutes or so will either get up and suddenly think of something I have to do or I will check my mail or a message coming in on Facebook. Within a positive definition of all of this, I have defined it as me enjoying being busy, being a generally fast person and being able to multitask. But the fact of the matter is that not all points/projects requires me to be fast or to multitask. Some points require slowness and focus and centeredness inside myself. An example that comes up is treading a needle. You can’t force it; it requires precision, focus and a steady, gentle hand. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I recently consulted with a homeopath who explained to me that I am basically so exhausted that I am unable to slow myself down and rest and that this has resulted in my body not being able to effectively restitute itself. This is something that I can relate to very much as another indication of why I am apparently unable to focus, because I am in a constant state of ‘being on the move’ of ‘moving forward’ and have throughout my life had a hard time actually relaxing and simply being Here.
In previous posts I have also sourced the origin of this experience back to my childhood where I created a perpetual state of pushing myself forward through/in my mind, ironically making my body very ‘hardened’ in a way, as though I am in a constant state of pushing up against a storm, obviously causing strain on my physical body. I see also how this has become an ‘addictive’ state in a way, a ‘comfort zone’ that I have simply gotten used to and that is ‘comfortable’ simply because it is ‘the devil I know’. So I realize that the point that I require walking is the integration of focus and centering and slowing down into my daily application, allowing myself to be with myself here and keeping my attention on one point. This is then also the practical correction that I see is required where, every time I see that I want to do something else, I gently pull my attention back here and push through the resistance towards being Here in the moment. Focus must first be in me, with me as my ‘focal’ and ‘center’ point for me to be able to effectively focus on a point or a project in my external reality. It is thus from me as a ‘focus’ – as the fire of my beingness, myself as a ‘home’ that I can establish focus – as specific and direct attention towards one point in my world/reality. This is thus what I commit myself to practice and to push myself to, like a muscle that hasn’t been exercised and requires practice to get that ‘muscle memory’. One thing I can do, which I’ve done before as well is to set a clock, so that I push myself little by little to be more attentive until I have pushed all the way through and can see when it is necessary and required for me to be focused and when it is required to rather multi-task and participate in several tasks at once. So I will utilize the practical structure of time and even for example turn off my Internet in the beginning, if I am for example writing an article, so as to assist and support myself to in the best possible way, integrate this point of focusing into my daily application. I realize that I am already quite effective at focusing if I am for example doing something creative with my hands – because within such activities I am very much ‘with myself’ and I see how I can therefore transfer this application into other points where I am not in the same way doing something manual, specifically through focusing on being focused first in my physical body and then from there express that into whatever I am working on. Focus then becomes an expression of me – no matter what I am participating within.
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