Widen Your Lens: A Lesson in Focus
I tend to look at my life with a massive zoom lens.
I don't mean that I'm always present and focused on what is happening in front of me - that's a work in progress
. My zoom feature is in my head: when I'm thinking about something, I'm really
thinking about it. Be it good or bad, the thought completely consumes me. When things are ticking along nicely in my life, this lens seems like a wonderful thing. It magnifies whatever I'm feeling. When that's joy, love, gratitude, and emotions that make me feel good, it's a blessing. In these moments, I never want the zoom feature to turn off. This lens and extreme focus seems like a curse when I hit a speed bump in life. When I'm filled with emotions like sadness, anger, and pain, I wish I could zoom out. It seems as though what I'm feeling is all-consuming and the only focus of my life. I get so stuck on whatever is causing me pain, that I lose my ability to see the bigger picture. What really stuck with me from my experience with practice teaching at Level Two is the art of shifting from one-on-one connection with students to a bird's eye view of seeing the whole room. I've seen this zoom lens from my life come up in my teaching. I sometimes have a tendency to focus on each student individually, without seeing the group as a whole.
Since returning home from the Catskills in September, this idea of zooming in and out has been a powerful tool in both my teaching and my life. I've realized yet again, that like anything in yoga, the work doesn't end when I leave the studio. It applies everywhere. We all experience sadness. Like every other emotion, it's a part of life. And at the moment, with a terminal illness taking it's toll on someone I love, it's a big part of mine. When I feel consumed by it, I come back to my experience at Level Two. My practice right now is in experiencing this sadness without letting it become my only focus. My work is in remembering to see the bigger picture.