Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shrinking/Expanding World

There is a universal principle that states that whatever you focus on expands. It's also been framed as the statement "Energy flows where attention goes." A great illustration of this principle is found in the experience of health challenges. Few things in life stop us in our tracks as quickly as a health challenge. When we suddenly have to focus on our bodies, or even a body part, our worldview will rapidly shrink to fit this redirection of our attention. Let's say for instance that you step funny and slip and fall, breaking your ankle or your foot. Suddenly your entire world telescopes to the region of your injured body part. Not just in the next few hours while you get to the doctor and get it set and casted, but your whole world will shrink down to figuring on out how to deal with the world with a broken foot or ankle in the process. Most of your attention in the days to come will focus on crutches and casts and keeping your foot elevated. While times in our lives such as these can provide needed down time, we must be aware of their potential to cause a permanent shift in our lives to the four walls around us. In this case, a shrinking of our world manifests in a smaller part of our world capturing our attention. The larger world shrinks while the smaller world grows in our awareness. In order to pull ourselves back from this shrinking perspective, we have to focus on it only as long as necessary to move beyond that stage in our lives. We can't afford to get mired there. If we do, we risk spending more time there than necessary. 

In recent years, I've had to focus on navigating different health challenges. Because of this needed change in the moment, I found that it began to impact me on a larger scale. A larger scale that kept reinforcing my need to shrink my focus. The more I focused on the smaller picture, the more life supported this refocusing and created more reasons to shrink my worldview. I suspect that if left unchecked, this shrinking focus could continue indefinitely until all I was left with was the existence of health challenges. In the beginning, the change in focus was caused by an extreme attack of vertigo that had been brought on by sinusitis. During this event, my worldview got very small and continued to be small as my needs in the moment changed. While living in a place of great and expansive beauty, I had to narrow my vision to what was directly in front of me in order to maintain my equilibrium. Eventually I was able to expand this view to cover more space. As that expanding view was reinforced by the world around me, I was able to cover more ground, eventually shifting my focus to driving across the United States in a pickup truck with my four feline children. Because of other mitigating circumstances, I shifted my focus inward and had to reverse my path and after a trip back across the USA, I reshifted my focus to recovering from that trip, which was accompanied by other health challenges that required me to continue narrowing my focus. Eventually my life became all about my physical challenges. That's pretty much where I am today. 

Only today my mind is opening up to the fact that this is something I can choose or not choose. I may not currently have my expansive view of Puget Sound right outside my living room window, but I do have windows to look out of that incorporate nature. There are trees and a peekaboo backdrop of skies out the main window that is my view. I can also open some windows onto other views and now is the time of year in Florida that it is good to open up the blinds and see what all is waiting out there. I suspect that looking will lead me to go explore what is out there, which will lead my feet to get on that path again. As soon as I put my feet on that path, there's no telling where it will lead me. Right now, my looking needs to lead me to get up out of the wheelchair I'm using right now for mobility and get my feet moving towards a future where dancing and walking and biking and standing strong while I do my yoga and tai chi routines is part of my daily experience again. Part of my daily expanding worldview. I hereby declare that my world has gotten as small as it is going to get. From this day forward, my worldview and accompanying life experience will be expanding again. Who knows? Maybe you'll be reading about my travels with my kitties again before you know it.