Forced Focus

Sometimes, all we need is focus. And the harder we try to attain it, the more elusive it is.

Yesterday, my mind was whirling – mostly in descending spirals. I had no objectivity, no motivation, no clarity of thought or intention. The Black Dog had taken over.

This morning, I somehow managed to get myself together enough to head out for my run around the park. The lovely sunshine and warm breezes helped, I admit.

But once out there, the sheer physical effort of the activity forced my mind to focus. I could feel the darkness pulling, trying to slow my muscles down with a background noise of ‘Too tired, too weak, just stop, go home’ – but I kept my feet moving forward.

Until my breath became steady. My eyes focused on the sights around, or even just the grass as I pounded through it. I felt the muscles in my legs, my heart and lungs… body and mind had to work together, to fulfil this task. That was all.

The endorphins kicked in as I hit a mile – always a thrill for this plodder! – and by the time I did return home, I felt invincible, that I could do anything. Because I had just run around a park.

Sometimes it’s the simple things, such as a distraction that engages the brain, or the voice of a friend. Sometimes a harder kick is needed, a challenge, that might seem utterly impossible at first. Even a breathing meditation (which needs no special equipment, just time and focus) can seem like the hardest thing in the world.

But by keeping on Doing, we pull ourselves back, to ourselves and to what’s true and important, drowning out the unhelpful voices and letting us move back onto our track. We have Done Something, just for us. And in so doing, we can feel alive again.

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