Friday, July 18, 2008

Choosing a Focal Point

It's another beautiful day in the San Francisco Bay Area. The sun is shining; it's warm but there's a cool breeze.

Walking out to run some errands I was worrying, however, about what I hadn't done. And then in a moment I reminded myself that it was a beautiful day.

There are advantages about considering the things that we have yet to do. If we can actually do one of the things we hope to do, that's best, but thinking about which things to do is also a good plan. There's plenty there to think about.

There are also advantages to considering the beauty of the moment. I don't think that spending every day frolicking in the sun is necessarily a good long-term strategy, but it has its moments. And from moment to moment we can continue to be aware of the good things we do have around us while we are engaged in other activities.

I'm not sure there are many good reasons to worry about what we haven't done in the past. It's worth understanding how we can do things so as to avoid old mistakes, but to spend time worrying about the past?

We can choose where to direct our attention. This is obvious. We direct our attention to the left then to the right when we prepare to cross a two-way street (assuming people drive on the right side of the road). We direct our attention to each speaker in turn when we converse with a group of friends. But it's not so easy to direct our attention over longer periods or in some stressful situations.

My belief is that we can learn to focus our attention better. I like to practice by trying to remember the positive things, the things to celebrate and the things that I care about.

I'm feeling positively pollyanna-ish, so my readers will have to forgive me.

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