Focus on What I Can Control


Sensory Overload 

There’s an assault on our senses (touch, visual, auditory, mental, taste). Like a young child kicking us in the knees, our attention is repeatedly being beckoned by so many different stories, needs, desires, each vying for our attention. Researchers receive billions for researching how to push our buttons to get our attention, whet our appetite and awaken our interest for more of what they offer.

Meanwhile, news reports are in our face, repeatedly telling us, showing us that the world is in dire straits.

Yes, there’s a sensory/emotional overload and it’s diverting us from developing ourselves! Its purpose is diverting our attention away from our own power and leading us to lose trust in ourselves and instead look to and depend on the powers that be.

Emotion Eruption
This entire sensory overflow wears at us, eroding our sense of balance, putting us closer to the edge for a double whammy. With us already misdirected, slight as it may be, we’re positioned for our emotions to erupt when something unexpected occurs, catching us off balance. Whether it’s a red light when we’re already late, a coworker assuming we’ll cover for them, a family member misbehaving, etc.—something that by itself is not a big deal—suddenly our emotions are spilling over and we’re having a meltdown!

What’s Our Best Solution?
It’s well established that all we can control is what we initiate and how we respond in our thoughts, words and actions. If we can’t control it, don’t give it energy. Experience demonstrates our energy can be sucked away, like a Black Hole, when allowed. But, when we starve it of energy, it can’t affect us. Directing our focus to what we can control will either totally avoid or at the least, minimize the above intrusions, according to how well we develop our skills

Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor) said “It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.” “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

As if to exemplify these last two quotes, Frankl gave us this story: “…the story of the young woman whose death I witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. ‘I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,’ she told me. ‘In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.’ Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, ‘This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.’ Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. ‘I often talk to this tree,’ she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. ‘Yes.’ What did it say to her? She answered, ‘It said to me, I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.'”

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