changing your focus
Balanced Mindset

How Changing Your Focus Could Change Everything

My husband and I bought our first home in a cute little river town called Marietta. Occasionally, on a Saturday morning, I would take advantage of living near the water and head down to the river. I loved to sit silently and watch the water. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to unwind and to simply be.

A Story about Perspective

One morning, I was especially captivated by the glorious scene before me. The sky and river seemed serene. I felt small as I gazed at the mountains just beyond the river. It was as if I was staring at a beautiful painting rather than at water, trees, and sky. I had seen it many times before, but this particular morning, I allowed my mind quiet down enough to actually notice it.  And I was in awe.

After a few minutes. I looked down to my left and realized that there was an empty bag of chips there. I hadn’t noticed it when I first sat down. I laughed at myself for my lack of observance but thought it wasn’t that out of the ordinary.

Then I looked at the ground next to the bag and realized that there was an empty plastic bottle. And then another bag. And more bottles. As I widened my gaze around the area, I discovered that there was actually garbage everywhere.

“How did I not notice all this trash?” I thought to myself.

But the answer came to me instantly.  I was overwhelmed by the artistry before me.  I chose to focus on that beauty, so I hadn’t noticed the garbage even though it had been there the whole time.

I have often thought about that morning.  The experience affirmed my belief that you will see what you look for in this world. If you are thinking about how cruel this world is and you look around for proof of that, I promise you will find it. But if you believe there is an abundance of love and kindness, look around for it and I promise you will see that too. You see what you look for and focus on. But it’s all there.

Even at a grocery store…

One day after a trip to the grocery store, I recorded some observations.

– I saw a young woman help an elderly lady get a cart out from the row.
-I saw a cashier give a free bag to a gentleman who needed one more (it was a store where you normally have to purchase bags).
-I saw someone with a full cart let another person with only a few items go in front of them.
-I saw multiple people ask the cashier how her day was going.

All simple gestures, but they all made me smile.

I don’t know about you, but as a mother of two small children and a baby, I don’t usually look forward to trips to the grocery store (which becomes apparent when we have nothing left to eat except for PB&J’s and I still think I can put off shopping for one more day). That day, however, a grocery shopping tripped filled my heart with joy, because I chose to see the good there that day.


Beauty is all around us

Fred Rogers once said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Even in tragedy, beauty (in the form of goodness and kindness) is worth searching for.

Beauty (however you define it) can be found in the most unexpected places, so take the time to look for it.  It’s all around you, in your everyday life, passing you by unnoticed. 

It’s in the little activities that you do mindlessly with your kids, it’s in the sky you see every morning that you leave the house, it’s in your home, it’s in your kids’ hearts, it’s even in the dirty kitchen you have to clean up after dinner.

And yes, among the beauty, there is likely a lot of garbage as well. But if you focus on the beauty, the garbage won’t bother you as much—maybe you won’t even notice it.

Where are could you start looking for beauty? Challenge yourself to find it in some unexpected places starting today.

changing your focus (1)

As you start to be intentional about looking for it, you’ll start to see it everywhere. You’ll start smiling during normal occurrences that you once took for granted.  Life’s everyday annoyances won’t seem as bad. You’ll be a happier, more pleasant person.
While you’re at it, start pointing out beauty to others. Help them to see it too, because isn’t that something that could benefit all of us?

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