Have you ever felt like you weren’t quite living your fullest life? Or that you have spread yourself so thinly that it seemed to take forever to achieve anything. Have you become demotivated or lost sight of your goals because you just can’t focus? Disconnected? If this sounds familiar, you are not alone.
There I was. Bursting out from a blogging hiatus and wondering where I had been for the past month (or longer!?). Having spent so much time away from writing, I thought surely I’d have seen achievements in other areas of my life. But this didn’t seem to be the case. I felt I had lost momentum, juggling multiple projects and making little progress with any of them. Having sent so much energy out, I was left drained.
I became curious. Despite my lists, organising, meditation and self-care efforts, I wasn’t achieving my goals and I was pouring from an empty cup. I wondered if I had overcommit myself. It crossed my mind that maybe my London lifestyle had raised my expectations for achievement. So many thoughts crossed my mind as to why I seemed to lack focus. And it didn’t seem obvious at first, but then I realised something.
We live in an age where it is difficult to maintain focus. We multitask, we call into meetings from our commute, we text and email rapidly to exchange information. All while being marketed to, stimulated with media, and stressed by alerts and notifications that demand our instant attention. So much of our online experience is purposely designed without a signal to “stop”. It’s an infinite scroll of distraction. Each comment, like or share potentially stealing our focus away. Every digital exchange, a choice between investing your energy in yourself or giving it away to something else.
And of course, it goes without saying, it’s a matter of self discipline when it comes to how involved we are with the technology in our lives. But, it’s worth pointing out that it’s a very easy slip into habits that distance us from our authentic self.
What Can We Practice to Stay Authentic & Stay Focused?
When I was on retreat at Celia’s last month, Sirgun spoke about this thing that Yogi Bhajan called the Cold Depression. It was as if I was exactly where I needed to be, to hear what I needed to hear. With what I had experienced, the wisdom Sirgun shared resonated with me.
Our modern lives demand so much from us externally. We exist in a world of bigger, better, faster, more. We disconnect from our truth and avoid confronting it by escaping further into it. And we let more stimulus into our lives to fill the void left from where we would usually focus, engage and connect.
Reconnecting with our Authentic Self & Balancing the Technology in our Lives
As someone who blogs and stays connected with friends and family over the globe on a daily basis, I embrace technology. But there is definitely a balance to be found. It’s certainly something I think I need to take personal responsibility for.
We can only be affected as much as we allow ourselves to be. If we discover ourselves feeling drained and disconnected, it’s up to us to check in with ourselves and maintain the balance. There are ways that we can ‘switch off’ from and minimise our dependency on technology. But ultimately we need to establish a practice. A practice that strengthens the nervous system and brings us back to our inner voice. This non-negotiable activity helps us to maintain self-discipline and builds resilience.
First of all, checking in with yourself is important. Ask yourself; Where is your energy flowing to? What activities receive your attention the most? Are they fruitful activities? Are they aligned with your authentic self? Journaling with these prompts is a great start to discovering where you’re expending your energy.
Exercise and strengthen your self-discipline. There’s a Japanese method of Kaizen that is based on the idea of committing to doing something for one minute every day at the same time. You might also find your self-discipline challenged by committing to waking up 15 minutes earlier than usual. Or you might commit to a morning/lunch time/after dinner walk every day. It’s not so much about what you do as it is about your commitment to doing it.
Start a pranayama practice upon waking. As soon as you wake up, find a comfortable seated position and take a few deep breaths before practising some breathwork. My ‘Go To’ breathing exercise is Breath of Fire. Take a few deep breaths after this exercise too, to bring you back to earth.
If you catch yourself giving more of yourself to things that aren’t aligned with your authentic self, it’s beneficial to practise anything that brings you back to your centre. From here you can live in your truth and from your heart. And that’s the best place to start.