Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Concentration of Energy and Focus

Recently, I teased a much loved younger sister about a pile of old newspapers she has kept (an accumulation of newspapers with useful articles). The energy behind the comment was impatient; making it was unkind. As I thought about it later, I realized that my comment meant that there must be something in my own self that I needed to look at, something about hanging on to piles of things.

So, I did a bit of The Work. For those of you who haven’t met Byron Katie and her work, I highly recommend reading her book Loving What Is (or start with A Thousand Names for Joy, the first of her books that I read, a beautiful journey into spirit). You can go to her website, The Work of Byron Katie, or find one of the many videos of Katie doing the work with individuals by searching “Byron Katie” on YouTube. Two that I particularly like are: "What's the Reality of Pressure?" and "Prison of the Mind". Katie shares, from out of her own life and experience, an absolutely wonderful way to work through the tangled thoughts we engage with every moment of our lives, thoughts that cause us everything from uneasiness to despair.

I came to see, by doing the writing and reflection that Byron Katie (known simply as Katie) teaches, that I, too, have some piles that I am hanging on to. I also saw how very much this hanging on blocks the flow of creativity in my life. I realized again that clearing out old piles of things can clear and open the way for new inspirations and resources to make their way into my life.

I am at a turning point in my life (not the first, probably not the last); in this turning, I find my commitment to writing and recording music deepening. I find that I need to choose to make this work my primary focus. To do this, I need to let go of some other things that I also love to do but which fragment my time and energy and keep me from my music. Even when I am not doing these activities, they hang over my head, large weighty projects that would be wonderful to do, but only if I had 3 or 4 concurrently running lives! I identified several of these interests and will now let them, and the physical things that support them, go…not an easy process, but, in the end, very liberating.

When I look around me at people who are really giving their gifts to the world, I see this kind of concentration of energy and focus.

And here’s the wonder in it. Shortly after I began to take action on the letting go process, I found myself rewriting two songs that I first wrote some years ago and then set aside. They were songs that had promise but that just didn’t satisfy me. Now both the music and the lyrics are complete for each song. I believe that the way opened for this by my effort to release activities that do not support this main focus, my music.

So, my gratitude to my dear sister, for pointing the way to something I needed both to work out within myself and then to act on in my external world. And, my heartfelt apology for my impatience with her; she needs to take whatever time she needs to take to make changes in her inner and her outer world. So, apparently, do I.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

What an interesting and insightful process you "unpacked" in this posting ("A Concentration of Energy and Focus"). You seem to be describing a perennial true-ism, i.e., that which we perceive in another (be they friend, foe or family) that annoys, irritates or "punches our buttons" is, in essence, a mirror reflecting back to us our own frustrations, limitations or inabilities within our self, i.e., "the work" that is lying in wait for each of us to discover (in our own time frame) and act upon.

Good for you for summoning the honesty, courage (one of those scary "C" words I noted along with "commitment", "choose", and "concentration" you mentioned) and depth of understanding to plumb your own deep waters and discover your own buoyancy.
--a certain nameless, much-loved younger sister

Lorna said...

To my anonymous friend who suggested that people might like to have a way to subscribe to this blog, please see: "Subscribe to Sustaining Pathways" above the list of sociable links near the top of the blog...and, thanks so much for your suggestion! blessings to you, Lorna Carolyn Aites