Expand your focus. It sounds like an oxymoron, yet it's been a mantra of mine for a long time.
When I finally finished my college studies in late 1993 and took a job with Buick Motor Division and met a girl I thought I'd be with forever, something still felt missing. In hindsight I recognize that I was still filled with the residual idealistic beliefs that all young writers experience, those deep beliefs that are almost reality because you have internalized them into every fiber of your being. The creativity and passion that soaked those fibers was still there but here I was living what others felt I should be doing. I felt caged in.
So, I began reading Dr. Wayne Dyer on my lunch breaks. I'd go out to a chair that the janitor staff used in one of the garages (where the big execs parked) and I would sit in my ugly, charcoal grey, Brooks Brothers suit and read inspirational words, trying to find meaning or, rather, purpose to my life. I would leave the stress and detachment of my stiff office, sit in a dingy, vinyl chair in a dark garage filled with expensive cars, and I would escape into a place I wanted to be, a place I needed to find.
Out of the dozen or so books of Dr. Dyer's that I read over the following months, one thing was painted in my mind every day and still coats the walls of my thoughts. Whatever you focus on will expand. Focus on the things that make you feel small and unhappy and that reality expands. Focus on love, kindness, and your passion, and that reality expands.
I probably would still be working for Buick in some capacity if it weren't for those books read during the piled up lunch hours. Dyer's books and, more precisely, his challenge to focus on what's important helped me break away from society's views of success and nudged my drifting life into a path with no set direction, yet with meaning and purpose. I left Buick and moved to New York and that, as they say, was the beginning.
Since then, over these last 17 years, I've had to keep reminding myself to focus on what I want, what's important, because it will expand in my life. It's challenging and once in a while puts oneself in compromising positions. It works for nearly everything but sometimes it propels me beyond the present because I visualize what I know is meant to be and suddenly my focus is askew from the present. When the present doesn't meet with my vision, like so many things that don't fit what you believe to be true, it offers the opportunity for growth. Sometimes the present catches up with your expansion of focus and the frequencies hum along in parallel waves and things blossom; sometimes they don't.
When they don't, it's important to reestablish your idea(l) of what's important and begin the process of focussing on those things: passion, love, kindness. Purpose.