I may have mentioned before that I am doing a 12 week challenge with my local gym, IchooseAwesome. I may not have mentioned that I am not a genius. I have found it very hard to focus exclusively on the challenge. Even now as I write this, I am distracted by the smell of shoe polish from my shoes. I got up early this morning and one of my tasks was to polish my black work shoes and now they smell of polish and take me back to my childhood and being made to polish my school shoes.
See what I mean about focus? I know there are people at the challenge who are way more focused on it than me. One lovely person goes home and makes healthy snacks and brings them to the boot camp for us all to share. She is focused enough on the challenge to remember it when she gets home. I am not focused enough to even keep my mind on it when I am there. I could be doing push ups, but I am thinking about my day's work...have I written that report, made that phone call, made that appointment. Sometimes when I am at work I am thinking about babysitting my grandson that night or reading the next chapter of Certificate 4 in Fitness.
Genius is about being in the present. It was the message of "The Power of Now" and is the premise of the mindfulness school of psychology. I think I might have to read something to help me stay focused on one thing. It matters too how we focus: we can choose to focus on what is helpful and what is not helpful...
Not long ago, I was taking a flight in America and the woman next to me was obviously very nervous. She was very focused on what could go wrong and she was breathing heavily and digging her nails into her husband's hands. He said soothing words but nothing seemed to be working. I thought we might have a hysterical person on our hands as she started to hyperventilate.
So just as the plane reached the runway to take off, I leaned over towards her and said, "Flying is like great sex." She stopped breathing, looked at me, astonished. Here was this much older woman, with a really strange accent, talking to her about sex. How was that for a change in focus! She said, "what did you say?" I said, "You just gotta sit back and enjoy it." She laughed and we began to talk. She asked me where I was from and we chatted for a few moments. Then she looked out the window and realised we were up in the air and said, "You distracted me, didn't you!" I admitted I did and she thanked me.
On the other side of the aisle was an 8 year old girl who was evidently travelling alone. Toward the end of the flight, I asked her if she had seen "The Rescuers", a Disney cartoon about two little mice who flew around the world on the back of a goose, in a sardine can tied on to him with string. The girl mouse was voiced by Zsa Zsa Gabor (for those of you old enough to know who she is/was)
I described in great detail how the goose landed, wobbling and overshooting the runway and how funny it was. The girl enjoyed the story, but the main thing was that the woman next to me was focused on everything I said. She was entranced by the image of that goose coming into land. Once we landed she reached into her bag and gave me a small present, a magnetised book mark that she had made and thanked me again. She said she would never take another flight without thinking about sex and geese!
I guess it's true what Shakespeare said: "Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so."