All Tangled Up: How to Reset Your Focus During the Day

I’m trying to learn more effective methods of resetting during my day.  I’ve noticed certain times of the day that tend to send me off on tangents, away from purpose driven, goal focused actions, like the “what I’d do with the ranches I’d buy if God would finally give me the MegaMillions” fantasy.  A daily mediation practice is of course a great setting up and resetting activity, so I’ve started that rewarding practice this morning, again, for about the 758th thousand time.  So far, I’ve lasted one minute and eight seconds and now I am writing this.

Today’s Daily Trip with Jeff Warren on the Calm app is “Tangled Up in You” and is about how simple meditation could be if we could just be in the moment.  He says we struggle to just be present because we get so tangled up in things.  My mind wandered immediately into all kinds of tangle scenes.  

Looking out over calm waters on a bluebird day in flooded timber, past a bird’s nest backlash on reel and of line of epic proportions, preventing a cast to rising, feeding bass.  A boy trying to untangle with desperation; to please his father, to escape the frustration (and of perceived and possible disdain of said father), to solve this problem that seems so imminently and immensely important; whether it be anchor line, extension cord, gate tie wire.  Wrestling with guy lines to secure a flapping tent in gale force winds in a mountain meadow that should be awe inspiring but right now is the scene of a sense of frustration and failure.  Trying to secure all those dang different knots to tie up horses, pack horses, stake out horses, all these things with horses; that the old men make look so easy.  And seriously, ear bud chords, how is it possible they get so tangled so quickly, thank God for wireless!  

Okay, I am obviously no longer meditating.  Well, okay I kind of am because mediating is mostly just about trying to focus, noticing you are distracted, and coming back to focus, on whatever the meditation is using for grounding or centering or whatever one wants to call it, often breathing, but could be a sensation in the body, feel of a footfall, or if you are the Marlborough Man, the drag on a smoke while sitting up on a mountain with your horse.  This process by the way can be a real wrestling match, which is maybe why someone started calling a fight “tangling” with someone.  So back to my tangle in mediation.  

According to Warren in this Daily Trip, one of the reasons we get tangled up is the need for things to be different.  He doesn’t say this, but one of the, if not the, causes of anxiety, whether the simple emotional state or the diagnosed disorder, is “unfinished business” as Psychology pioneer Alfred Adler called it.  This is likely a root cause of our needing something to be different and can be a desired outcome of this mediation.  Over time mediation can build the neural pathways needed to finish specific and general psychological, existential business.  Mediation does this by us working through small simple things seeming to need to be different while trying to focus.  

All those distractions.  Like the dog barking.  Or my knee itching.  Or what I should have said to whoever whenever.  You know the drill if you’ve ever tried to mediate, pray, or anything else quiet and meaningful and impactful.  It’s a good thing this happens in our brain, it does all kinds of good things for the mind and thus for our day-to-day life.  It's that frustration is part of the process.  Just like we have to only smile while untangling that backlash, or waiting on a kid to untangle the rope, or dealing with the flapping wind or balking horse.  

Okay, I’ve made it to two minutes and nineteen seconds of this mediation, please don’t follow my example, now back to my sitting and breathing and trying to focus.  Trash truck. Sick kid coughing.  Be present and know that I am present.  Remind myself that things cannot be different than they are.  Dang I am a tangle, backlash ain’t got jack on me b%^&, I mean baby.  

Jeff says a need arises that distracts us.  That sure is the truth.  I need to write this blog and for this Hunt Fish Thrive project if it is ever going to become a reality.  I’m at four minutes fifty-three seconds, I’m getting better but I have to embrace the tangle, “nothing needs to be different, accepting the tangle is the healing balm of this mediation.”  (If that seems unmanly remember that cowboys rope cows to medicate them with “bag balm” and then might have to mediate their horse with “hoof balm” from the after affects of the range rodeo.)

“Present without needing things to be any different, that’s the training.”  This is why Navy Seals practice mediation.  As do so many corporate executives.  And hunters and fishermen and cowboys, although they usually don’t know that’s what they’ve been doing.  I highly recommend giving the December 13, 2021, Daily Trip on Calm a listen; it’s a great intro, explaining, and practice of mediation.  If it requires subscribing, I can attest, as can so many of my clients, it is one of the best things money can buy that can empower you to THRIVE.  

After listening, or reading this, I hope every backlash and rope wrestling match becomes a tangle that reminds you that in Hunt Fish Thrive we build our connections between outside experiences with insights that build our lives.  We are Built BY the Wild!

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