“Focus is the new superpower.” I read this recently in a business journal. I think that right now, we are craving SOUL focus.
Two years ago, I facilitated a workshop at Georgetown University for faculty and staff about how to focus. “Focus” is going to emerge as THE skill to hone, I told them. But not any old “focus.” The kind of focus we were talking about was the ability to cut through the clutter and distractions – the myriad pulls on our attention and energy throughout our day – and know what matters.
~ To be able to “listen within” and be guided by THAT voice.
~ To remain anchored in something bigger than the momentary rush of dopamine you get when you “click”’ – the ad blinking on your screen, the social media post, etc.
~ To remain devoted to what your heart truly calls you to and how you want to make a difference – at work, in your home life, in your community, and in our world.
In psychotherapy, it used to be that the only people who came to me and said they needed to “focus better” were people who had ADD or ADHD. Now, though, that’s has changed.
Everyone has a hard time focusing. Our senses are on overload and our nervous systems on are on edge. We are easily distracted as we make a purchase online or try and read an article. Our attention gets pulled away from what we are doing. Has this ever happened to you — you are looking up new recipes for dinner and 15 minutes later you find yourself on Pinterest (and you don’t even have an account!) looking at how to do calligraphy?! Our brains feel scattered. And the voice of our true self sounds muffled through all the noise – we can’t make out the words…and we miss out on the wisdom.
Last night, I was sitting in my friend’s kitchen talking about how our summers are going so far. She described a magical trip she and her family took to Maine. No TV, no cell service at times. Just being together outside. As she talked, I was captivated by her eyes. Something was different – way different. She was the most relaxed I had ever seen her. I mean SOUL relaxed. I could see it in her eyes that her soul was truly nourished.
I shared how I have been hiking at least one time a week. My soul has needed to be in nature, too. A friend and I have made a commitment to each other to meet once a week and hike. One day as we were walking, she said, “I have needed to get away from hearing the artificial noises that we make as human beings – cars, A/C, traffic, electronics. And instead hear the birds, the rustling of the leaves, my feet on the path, my breath.”
Whether you soul needs to sit by the ocean and hear her familiar rhythmical movements, or your soul needs the quiet of the forest, it has become so apparent to me that it’s SOUL necessary.
Quiet time, playtime in nature, time to unwind and be nourished by “natural sounds”. Our souls are thirsty for such replenishment. Our nervous systems need the break – in order to settle and remember how it feels to not always be “on,” to remember how it to feels to breathe smoothly, softly, rhythmically.
We need such breaks for our creativity to deepen and fresh ideas to arise.
We need such breaks so we can respond instead of react to our dear ones.
And, really, we need such breaks so can hear our Deepest Self talking to us once again, beneath the noise of daily life. We need to hear this sacred voice guiding us to make decisions that are aligned with what really matters, guiding us to deeper levels of creativity, and guiding us to take SOUL risks…to turn toward what you deeply love.
So this month, whether you go to the beach or lake, travel and see a new landscape, take a road trip to see family and friends, or you stay local and spend July in your garden, at pool, or on your porch, find some quiet.
Find some spaciousness.
Read something soul-nourishing.
Let the sounds of nature lull you into the quietness of your heart, your breath, your inner Self – to be nourished and to go back into life with a clear and devoted focus on what is sacred to you.
I curated some of my poetry just for your soul nourishment. Take a look and let these words soften your breath and nourish your heart.
For those of you who may not know yet, I have created a podcast. My working title is Linger Here Homilies: How to be present in your life and courageous in your love. Right now, they are just on my website and I’m creating one a month for one year. The first two episodes take stories from the Christian tradition and break them open in a new radical kind of way (the kind of “radical” that’s about self-compassion, love, and belonging). The next ones will weave together poetry and wisdom from the mystics of various spiritual traditions. The third one will be out in a few weeks.