Life is better with focus

The spin lies in whether we identify with others in their particular circumstances and sufferings, or with others as though everyone is like ourselves; the first is a window, the second a mirror.*
(Richard Sennett)

Worry takes a lot of effort. And worry, unlike focus, learning or action, accomplishes nothing of value. […] Waiting is, sort of be definition, a waste of time. But time is scarce, so wasting it is a shameful act.**
(Seth Godin)

Withdrawing from people and activities has very much become a part of our experience in lockdown, though it was a part of normal life, too.

There are two basic kinds of withdrawal – one is positive and we withdraw in order to do something, the other is negative because we’re trying to get away from something or someone.

Richard Sennett warns that the latter can become narcissistic: in protecting ourselves we lose connection with the other.

Positive withdrawal, however, is about growing ourselves in order to then reach out to others.

Seth Godin writes about the opportunity we have to focus, learn and action something in these times of enforced withdrawal. Not in using every extra moment afforded to us by the lockdown in some kind of activity – there’s something really important in slowing down apart from the rush and busyness of pre-coronavirus. But we have been provided with a gift that may well produce something very important to us post-lockdown.

Slowing down and focusing allows us to see more. It is what artist and nun Corita Kent would do:

I don’t think of it as art – I just make things I like bigger, assuming that if I like them some other people might too. Some do. Some don’t, and that’s ok too.^

Austin Kleon remarks on this artist who is so important to him:

She taught her students to learn to see by looking at the world one piece at a time.^^

Kent’s rules for art class at the Immaculate Heart College look as if they would transfer well to our period of lockdown.

A little focus make life bigger.

(*From Richard Sennett’s Together.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog: Waiting and worrying.)
(^Corita Day, quoted in Austin Kleon’s blog: Corita Day.)
(^^From Austin Kleon’s blog: Corita Day.)

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