Are You Focused On What You Focus On?

March, 2021

You are probably saying to yourself, “What is she talking about now???”  I will begin with a true story and I’m not changing the names to protect the innocent.

Several years ago Jan and Dubee decide to head to Lincoln Park on the lakefront in Chicago on a sunny winter Saturday.  It was a beautiful day to visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and head over to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder for lunch.  They had a great time exploring the museum and experiencing the butterflies hanging out on them in the atrium.   The girls leave the museum and for some reason didn’t head back to the car the same way they came in.  They both walk toward a path that has some snow and some ice on it, but in their heads it’s the path back to the car.  So they head south on this walkway.

Within a few feet, this path becomes more ice than snow. If any of you remember the Carol Burnett Show, they looked like the old man character that Tim Conway created where he shuffles his feet and doesn’t get anywhere. They are shuffling along and can’t take their focus away from the ice and their feet…just staring at the ground.  All they can think about is DON’T FALL!  About halfway to the car, they stop to take a break and low and behold, about 20 feet to the left of them was what appeared to be a service road that went to the museum and was completely clear of ice and snow.  Needless to say, they were bent over in laughter for a couple of minutes and shuffled over to the clear road. Yep, they were so focused on the problem, they couldn’t see the solution.  It was such an easy solution, if they expanded their vision and thoughts off the problem for just a few seconds….so much like the cat in the picture.

Dubee and I have had many adventures that apply to focus, solution and the big picture.  There is another great story on this subject from our triathlon days.  I’ll hold that story for a future post. We still laugh ourselves silly when we reminisce about those days.  We did always complete them, but it was never without resistance.

There are also situations when you have so much focus on the big picture, on the much desired outcome, that you tend to ignore the details and steps that can get you there.  This was the case that same day in Lincoln Park with me and Dubee AFTER the ice caper.  We couldn’t find the car after lunch.  We were so focused on that delightful Med Bread at the Oven Grinder that we didn’t pay attention to where we parked the car.  We walked around block after block looking for the car, fearing that it got stolen or towed.  The panic continued to rise.  As we all know, the more we panic, the less clear we think. Yes, another moment of belly busting laughter once we found the car and the panic had come down.

The message being sent is that we need balance.  If you focus only on the problem, you could miss the easy solution. On the other hand, if you focus and are completely attached to the outcome, you may overlook some of the steps and details necessary to get there effortlessly or possibly miss an important message.

The practice of balance in our life can create some amazing outcomes.  It sure can help us stay in the flow and easily recognize the message being sent to us and/or see the big picture effortlessly.