As Lisa Unger writes,

Most of us don’t live in the present tense. We dwell in a mental place where our regrets and grudges from our past compete with our fears about the future. Sometimes we barely notice what’s going on around us, we’re so busy time traveling.

Let’s use a window to help you shift your focus. If you are in a room with a window, consider that one. If you are not in a room with a window, then just imagine someplace in your home that has a window.

I’m fortunate to have two windows in my home office. There are times when I’m in here (my office) bright and early (like while it’s still dark) in the morning. I’ll have my focus on the computer, some papers, something I’m writing or working on - and then I look up to notice a sunrise that is just spectacular. If I have good sense, I get up, walk over, and look out the window. This is a perfect example of not delaying and waiting until later when I “have time.” It’s now or the sunrise is missed.

Here’s the question for you as you look out your window:

What do you see out that window? In my case, I can see trees, birds pecking at the bird feeder that is up on the deck outside my office, sun coming through the trees, and sort of the outline of a neighbor’s roofline. From where I’m sitting, that is it. I can’t see my neighbors across the street or downtown Reno or the university or my family in Kentucky.

Looking out a window narrows your view to an extent. I want us to use this as a metaphor - and just as with most metaphors, it works in some ways, but not in others. I’ll start out with how it doesn’t work with the ideas in this article so that you are not confused and headed down the wrong path with your thinking.

Viewing life through a metaphorical window is not a message to go through life in an oblivious, uninformed state.

Viewing life through a metaphorical window is also not a suggestion to ignore the future or ignore opportunities to make wonderful choices that affect your life.

Here’s how the concept does work:

Viewing life through a metaphorical window can help you sort out extraneous, distracting events, emotions, and experiences in situations such as:

  • When you are sinking into despair;
  • When you are being pulled out of the present and into the past;
  • When it has all just become too overwhelming and you are in the freaking out danger zone;
  • When you need to be reminded of what IS present and visible so you can focus on that.
  • Whenever you need it as a helpful tool.

Draw the diagram of a window on a piece of paper. Inside the window, write down one (or even a few items) that you want in this “Present” window. There’s no need to write down other items - they are there in your mind and in the world - and there’s no reason to reinforce them by having them on your paper.

Just focus on what’s in the window. The act of writing this helps that focus start - and just staring at the window once you’ve written it - also helps. I promise.

Emily Dickinson said, “Forever is composed of nows.” What can you (and what do you need) to focus on NOW? Look out a window - or write inside a paper window - to help you narrow your focus.

And if you would like many more ideas to keep your focus on the present so you are better able to stay positive you are invited to visit: Staying Positive in a Freaked-Out World.


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