Focusing on creative pursuit is challenging these days... for me. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Our subconscious and conscious attention is being hijacked in order to process all the changes, the losses- subtle and blatant, the unknown. The concept of "kaizen" even more important now - taking really small steps, not expecting perfection, and giving ourselves permission to be human.
I'm both a writer and an artist. I find just having little short success experiences keeps me fortified and a-mused. Even a haiku or a quickly scribbled sketch can buoy me in this ocean of chaos... creating does that, even if the final product doesn't go anywhere except to have provided a process of escape and mindlessness.
I lowered expectations and wrote about an incident of distraction. If you're having a hard time focusing on reading, I also recorded it.
It may also put you to sleep if you're having trouble sleeping
I sat down to write and started with the sentence:
The world is sometimes a blank page upon which to …
Then I got distracted, my thoughts took off
like they were butterflies in flight.
The nouns and the verbs and the occasional adjectives
fluttered about the room in random
erratically bobbing and weaving
from thing to thing
And then my thoughts perched on the mantle over my fireplace,
Near the ocean-scented candle, ahhhh
Under the abstract with purple circles, apricot arches and black dots…
My thoughts stayed there in steady stillness
…for 2 seconds and
then my thoughts, like a kaleidoscope of butterflies,
flitted over to the remote control,
then to Max, the ragdoll cat, who was asleep purring,
then to the window where my thoughts tried to get out,
and tried to get out,
and tried to get out into the sunshine,
the window was closed
they gave up trying to get out
and flitted over to the white sock I left on the floor,
back to the window to try and get out
then to the pear-shaped lamp
and they surrounded it in a wobbly
ceremoniously random dance like the lamp was a deity or something,
then to the philodendron that needed watering
and back to the Max who was now awake and cleaning himself.
And then my thoughts flitted through open door.
Out they went
And they flitted high above the street and looked back down to see the lawns of my neighborhood and my thoughts thought… “whoa!” then…
a crow ate one of the nouns,
but the rest of my thoughts did a few enjoyable somersaults
before they parachuted downward …. Slowly … gracefully
And landed on my neighbor's head.
He was out weeding.
There I was, thinking about my neighbor's head,
his shaggy brown hair, the drop of sweat trickling down his forehead.
"What?!" said my neighbor, sensing my thoughts had landed on him.
"Ummmm, (I improvised), can I borrow yourrrrrrr…. cape?"
(Trying to justify thoughts on his head with a logical response)
(My neighbor is one of those superheroes, he has a cape.)
"Last time you wore my cape you were reckless
and ran into a flock of pelicans."
"I know, I understand, I'll be more careful this time..
although flying at the speed of a bullet is certainly
not an exact art."
"Yes it is, and no you can't borrow my cape."
Which was okay because last time I borrowed it,
I ran into a flock of pelicans.
They have large beaks.
I walked back inside.
And this time,
I decided to flit around the room, around the pear shaped lamp
toward the window
Which I broke trying to get out
"Trying to ‘butterfly’ is not an exact art," I said out loud.
"Yes, it is," said my neighbor,
who was looking through the broken window and then turned to go back to weeding.
I alighted on the mantle over the fireplace, under the purple and apricot abstract with the black dots, by the ocean-scented candle awww
and went back into my creative cocoon and watched my breath come in and go
Like the waves of the ocean, awwww like the light of the moon,
like the emergence of an idea that is hijacked by a distraction.
And then I became still and I wrote this:
The world is sometimes a blank page upon which to … allow thoughts to change into butterflies, to welcome the fragrance of ocean scented candles, to love the cat that purrs and washes, to remember to water the philodendron, to marvel in a pear-shaped lamp, to open the window to the world, to love yourself even when it’s hard to concentrate, and to avoid pelicans when you have borrowed your neighbor’s cape.
(R) 2020 Jill Badonsky
Another way to help with focus, is to show up someplace structured, where someone takes on some of the responsibility of feeding you inspiration, holding the space for you, and validating your efforts. Like one of the classes down there.