Finding Focus

Welcome to my mind…

I’m standing in the gym, standing sock foot on the gray mats, but I’m not alone. Sure there are others around, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the 3-ring circus going on in my head…

In Ring Number One we have… Doubts and Fears about my kids’ schoolwork! The Boy is waaaaay behind in math, and our mid-year review’s coming up in just a couple weeks. Oy, we’re not any where near halfway done and… what about Charlotte? She’s supposed to graduate this year and we’ve kind of stalled on Grammar and oh good grief she has a bunch of papers to write…

In Ring Number Two we have… My Bipolar! Yay, I’m rapid cycling, which means I’m up for a while then some trigger has me down pretty low, then woooo I’m flying high again! Man it’s hard to concentrate like this. How can I get focused on helping the kids get their schoolwork done… ? Ugh, now I feel terrible. Did I take my meds? Hmmmm….

Aaaaannnnd in Ring Number Three we have… All the Stuff that Needs to Get Done! And there’s so much! The washing machine’s not working so I’ve got to find a laundromat near the kids’ umbrella school and I need to go through Mt. Washmore to see what needs washing first… How big can I make the loads, anyway? What’s for dinner? I need to work on training the dog, she’s developing some bad habits. And where am I going to fit the Boy’s math in? Ugh, I feel terrible. Actually if I get some caffeine I’ll probably feel better, but it’s too late for coffee and if I overcaffeinate again I’ll be staring at the ceiling instead of sleeping tonight and…

Too much! Where am I anyway?

Right. I’m standing on the mats. It’s time for Women’s Self-Defense and the teacher just said something but I don’t know what… I really need to focus. Seriously. I’m here but not really here.


So how do I set all that aside and learn to arrive in class so I’m not wasting my time or anyone else’s — and get my money’s worth? How do I pull the flaps down on the 3-Ring Circus and shut it down for a while? How do I leave everything at the door and arrive fully in class, body and mind?

For this easily-distracted lady, learning how to fully arrive anywhere has been quite a journey in itself. Here’s how I start…

  1. When I’m picking out my clothes, I start seeing myself wearing that outfit in class.
  2. As I’m driving there I think about setting up, different techniques we’ve been studying, proper posture for punching, etc.
  3. As I park the car I start the mental transition from my car to the building, from the building to the gym. I mentally shift my focus from all the stuff to the only thing that matters for the next 2+ hours — Women’s Self-Defense Class.
Deep breaths. Okay, one thing at a time.

As I’m helping set up the mats, I become more and more focused on what I’m doing. I think about the mat placement, about setting up the welcome and sign-in table — setting it up nicely, imagining someone coming in for the first time and seeing it. Does it look welcoming?

Finally, after all is set up, the other two owners and I join hands on the mat and commit the night to God. We offer ourselves to each other and to all who come to join us that night. We pray God is honored by all that’s said and done.

And when the music starts and the ladies walk in the door, we’re ready. I’m ready. Because I took the time to show up and am focused, ready for whatever this class brings. Ready to learn, to share, to grow.

And the 3-Ring Circus? Well nothing crashed and burned or fell apart when I was gone. In fact I feel a bit better, refreshed and a little more confident to tackle it one bit at a time. Maybe I can work on focusing on one thing at a time there, too… In fact, I know I can. Heck, maybe I can even make progress with the Boy and his math.

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