Scattered and Fragmented

Implementing right focus.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to explore how and why I have trouble with focus and concentration. It is an issue I’ve dealt with my entire life, from the time I was in high school. Only recently has some topics caught my interest enough to become passionate about them.

One of the goals of my 3-for-3 summer intention program is to avoid the mindless radio entertainment. Just being quiet and having quiet gaps throughout my day may help me with focus and maybe, just maybe! get some fabulous ideas.

This morning I broke my vow and became scattered

Well this morning I got a trigger that just scattered me all over the place, and until I took inventory, I had no idea how bad I had let this get.

I wake up at 4:45 to make coffee, read and meditate before going on my morning walk. I decided not to walk this morning, but got up that early anyway. From 4:45 til 5 AM I broke my vow of no radio.

I plugged in my earbuds and tuned into Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. I like to listen because half the time there are interviews that discuss topics that interest me. In that 15 minutes, George interviewed a woman named Lynne McTaggart, who talked about bringing community back to the people when we’ve lost it and the power of corporations and politicians  leave us as sole individuals in a win/lose end-game.

Corporatocracy and community are both topics that I feel deeply passionate about, so I was immediately drawn to this guest. Turned out she wrote a book about these issues called The Bond. OK then, here is ANOTHER book I need to get. After I read Autobiography of a Yogi, which Russell Simmons recommended in his book Do You!

Uh oh. You see where this is going? Let’s take a closer look:

I am currently reading these books:

  1. Facing the Future by Bhikkhu Bodhi
  2. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (I need my dose of fun fiction now and then)
  3. The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner
  4. Tapping for Abundance by Carole Look
  5. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda (FREE on Amazon – YES!)
  6. Come to Me First by Deborah Roffman
  7. Tribes by Seth Godin

On top of these books I am reading, I am a member of Audible.com for one audiobook per month. I just finished Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. Next on my list is The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle, and then I want to get The Bond by Lynne McTaggart as an audio book.

Scattered. Fragmented. But I desperately want to know, understand and become unblocked. Plus there is just so many interesting books out there. You should see how many sample books I have on my Kindle, where you can read the first chapter for free before deciding to buy.

These are just my books. Just like many of you, I read lots of blogs and get time-sucked into social media sites.

Right concentration and right effort

These are two practices on the Buddhist 8-Fold Path, both in the realm of CONTROLLING the mind. I have to admit that since beginning my meditation practice a month ago, I have been feeling less scattered, and the quiet interludes with no chattering radio have been good for quieting my mind. I fill it with music whenever I can, as I can still concentrate if there are no lyrics and it is mellow.

But yesterday was rather unsatisfying for me. I got the opportunity to spend the day finishing my painting and beginning the next one. I am grateful for having the time to do that. But the kind of painting I’m doing requires putting down a layer of glaze and then waiting for it to dry. I would put down glazes on both my paintings and have to wait around for both of them to dry before I could continue.

In between these times, I would go off and fart around online, catching up on FaceBook and read some of my favorite blogs from expats living in Thailand (since I used to be one and liked to remember those days fondly).

All that back and forth left me FEELING fragmented, although  I did get quite a bit done. I’ll share with you my latest painting hopefully with my next blog post. It turned out pretty good and I’m quickly getting the hang of it. But that feeling of being scattered was still present.

 Where focus has worked

One realm of my life where I have been able to see positive results is when I wake up in the middle of the night. It happens now and then, and I would get up and take a melatonin tablet to help me get back to sleep. Except that I would put in my earbuds and also listen to Coast to Coast until falling asleep, but the problem was that the guests would be so interesting that I would stay awake far too long – one, sometimes two hours of laying there. Then an hour or two later my alarm would go off and it would be on with my day.

Now since I am avoiding the radio, I thought to myself, let me try being mindful instead of taking melatonin. This time I am in the present moment, laying there on my bed and focusing on the sound of the fan. It has worked every time. And each time I’ve done this it takes me only minutes to fall back asleep. Mabe even less time than that. It is really amazing.

Focus and my books

I’ve decided to finish Autobiography of a Yogi first. I started it this morning and it is so interesting it is hard to put down. Then I will decide which will be next and it should be one on my list before buying a new one. Some of these books don’t have to be read start-to-finish, like the tapping books. I should finish Tribes because Seth Godin is rather wise.

Oh and with tapping? I tapped on my focus problem this morning, but I think I will have to do it again tomorrow because I wasn’t that focused on it. Can you believe it?

With everyone’s attention span getting shorter and shorter, I’m sure you must have some similar experiences. What would you like to pay more attention to for a longer time? Hit me with a quick little list or talk about one thing in particular in the comments.

4 Responses to Scattered and Fragmented

  1. Paul Garrigan July 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi Amy, I’ve tried all sorts of things to help me concentrate for long periods. It’s important for work. I use different things at different times. If I’m feeling antsy, I use the pomodoro technique – breaking up my work into short timed sessions. I’ve also had a little bit of success (nothing spectacular) with certain types of productivity music which are designed to increase attention.

    I like that you listen to Coast to Coast – this is one of my guilty pleasures 🙂

    • AmyT July 14, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      I remember that pomodoro technique you mentioned in your blog and it certainly sounds like an effective method. I will have to try it! Productivity music – I didn’t know such a thing existed, I will look into it. And Coast to Coast – I got sucked in again last night with an interesting interview and woke up a bit later than I planned. UGH!

      • Paul Garrigan July 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        Hi Amy, the free pdf of the Pomodoro technique book can be found here http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/book/. There are also lots of free apps available for using as a timer. If you do a search on YouTube for “productivity music”, you will find lots of options.

        • AmyT July 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

          Thanks, Paul! I’m on it… 🙂

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