Thursday, May 23, 2024

Selective Attention

November 9, 2015 by  
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“Selective Attention” by Lisa Guyman

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If you zoom into this present moment…and forgo any stories in your mind…is there any problem or stress at all?

I’ve personally had to continually re-engage the present moment to prevent myself from complete overload these last couple of months. When stress is high, selectively focusing our attention on the now (away from the story) creates relief. The reality is that stress is rarely, if ever, in the present moment. It’s our stories about the future (even the future 10 minutes away) or the past (even one hour ago) that create our sense of stress (overload, anxiety, dissatisfaction, sadness, guilt, or the blues).

I’ve been in Michigan since July 11. I flew to Detroit to teach a Reiki workshop and talk with our 87-year-old Mom (with my brother) about moving to Independent Living (she had two falls in six months and was increasingly stressed). To our surprise, she was receptive and grateful we made this suggestion.


My Mom, Brother, and I – Out to Dinner August 2015

The complex work of finding a new residence began July 12 and on August 3 the movers arrived. Our Mom is enjoying a better quality of life and went from 1-2 social events a week to daily activities (meals, yoga, lectures, live music, transportation, and happy hour – yes, happy hour). We are incredibly grateful for how things lined up – almost magically.

That was the “easy” part, and from stories I’ve heard, we were very fortunate. After the move, the immense task of getting the house ready for the market began. Her house was filled with a massive amount of craft stuff, and for most items, she had dozens if not 100’s (wreaths, flowers, figurines, baskets, vases, and on and on). The crafts filled the entire basement and a good portion of the upstairs.

We contacted estate sale organizers, but the homeowner’s association disallowed an estate or garage sale. The junk removal folks wanted $2500 to clear the crafts, and much would go to a landfill.



Making Progress – My Brother

artsandscrapsThen, finally, a non-profit in Detroit called Arts and Scraps was brought to my attention. They take in 28 tons of material annually to help 275,000 children think, create, and learn! They came to the rescue. We donated the contents of the basement. Three truckloads combined with 15 trips (and counting) to the Goodwill store and a trip supplying Mom’s Independent Living. We can finally begin some renovations.

Living amidst the clutter and devising a plan to get my Mom’s house ready for sale, taking over financials and getting her comfortable and oriented to her new home, to appointments, etc., and maintaining a degree of my work has been intense.

My usually calm and peaceful thinking and way of interacting with life changed at times to the flight/fight/freeze response – irritation, overwhelm, and plenty of choice words. Besides meditation, Reiki, and the bliss of seeing my Michigan contingency, what has helped me a lot is “narrowing my focus” and zooming into the present moment.

One day when I was feeling particularly shell shocked by the enormity of the tasks I sat down to have a bite of a makeshift breakfast in the massively cluttered living area (the entire house was cluttered) I said to myself: “Narrow your focus, narrow it, narrow it, zoom it in.”
I zoomed in to the moment, to my meal, and told myself to let go of the story (i.e., “there is too much clutter, too much to do, this is awful, f***” etc. (a lot of past and future in my thoughts) and I felt a sense of internal freedom (at least for several minutes, but sometimes that is all it takes to lessen the burden of the mind). I’ve used this process many times over. And no matter what is going on in our lives, if we move our awareness fully into the moment and let the internal dialogue quiet, we can usually find some sense of relief or peace.

I’m incredibly grateful that my brother and I work so well together. We’ve had friends and family pitching in too. I’ve also taken time for walks, socializing, levity, and yoga.

This experience has shaken my life and forced my mind to work in new ways. I believe that external circumstances show up to teach us something new. I feel a personal renovation is underway in this external renovation project, and I’m excited about the new possibilities.

Wishing you freedom from stressful thoughts and an immersion into your beautiful, amazing self.


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