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Your Flashlight of Focus (The Energy of our Attention)

Did you know I am writing a book? The working title is, “Intend Well: Build the Skills to Transform Your Life in 10 Weeks.” In this video I read from Chapter 4, Our Flashlight of Focus. This is still a work in progress and your feedback is appreciated! Leave me a comment or drop me an email at

Our minds are like a flashlight beam—focusing on one thing, and then another. Quantum physics teaches that everything is energy including our attention. Whatever is illuminated in the beam of our flashlight of focus, receives some of our energy. Consider how children, pets, and other people respond when we direct our attention towards them. Recall how it feels when someone pays attention to you.

The quality of our energy / attention / focus matters. Energy vibrates at a frequency that is measured in hertz (Hz). How does it feel when your pet gazes at you with unconditional love? Love is a high-vibe emotion. How does it feel when the boss is angry because you made a mistake at work? No one wants to be the the beam of low-vibe emotion.

The direction of our beam matters, too. Where we direct our attention effects how we feel. Old perfectionist me tended to focus my mental flashlight on the gaps between how things were and how I thought they should be. As I shifted my focus I noticed that the house needed cleaning. I needed to lose weight. I should have done a better job with that thing at work. When I say to myself, “I need to lose weight,” I am sending myself low-vibe energy. Often I would direct the beam internally—replaying irritating conversations over and over in my mind. Or imaging confrontations that hadn’t even happened yet - and maybe never would. Because I kept my attention zeroed in on the gaps, I felt anxious and annoyed most of the time.

As you move through the rest of your day, notice (without judgement) where your flashlight is pointing and how it makes you feel.

How illuminating it was to realize that I was holding the flashlight! I could control the direction of my focus. Old me was too obsessed with the gaps to notice my life was also filled with gifts. With a shift of focus, new me is bombarded with awareness of the simple pleasures in every moment—the aroma of a steaming cup of coffee, the softness of a cozy sweater, the pleasing sensations of a full belly, a text from a friend, warm sun on my skin. As soon as my awareness settles on a gap, I redirect my beam toward a gift.

Perhaps the most often repeated self-help advice is to cultivate ‘an attitude of gratitude.’ But what does that even mean? I used to think it meant expressing thanks for the ‘big’ stuff. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for…yada yada yada… That addresses the gratitude part but what about attitude? Creating a mental list of our blessings takes a few minutes at most. Our attitude emerges from how we think and feel most of the time. Where we direct our flashlight of focus shapes our attitude.

Everything that we touch in our daily activities is not available to someone—safe drinking water, indoor plumbing, nourishing food, self-help books…the list is endless. Now when I open my eyes in the morning, I take a moment to shine my focus around the room starting with my bed. I consider all the refugees fleeing violence and the unhoused sleeping in tents so I really mean it when I think, “Thank you for this comfortable bed. I am happy to be in a place where I feel safe and secure.” I send love to the roof over my head and the system that keeps my bedroom cool in the summer and warm in winter. My fondness for indoor plumbing is deep and abiding regardless of the season. How lucky we are! Even doing laundry can be pleasurable when we remember that some people do not have access to clean clothes. Reminding ourselves of the wonderful aspects of our life builds resilience. As we radiate high-vibe emotions, our ANS switches to parasympathetic mode. We reap all the health benefits associated with Rest, Digest, and Heal. Just as plants need sunlight to grow, our flashlight of focus nourishes our life experience. Direct the beam toward your gifts and watch them expand and multiply. Ignore the gaps and they will wither in the darkness.

Take a moment to look around at your surroundings. Right now, in this moment, what lights your gratitude fire?

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