Yesterday at lunch, my granddaughter conveyed some advice she received from a mentor who used a photography metaphor that is apropos to life in general:
“Focus and crop!”
As a result, she decided to drop one major at school and focus on an internship that she applied for next summer.
I can really identify with that because it’s so easy to get distracted in life doing things that you don’t sincerely want to do but feel you should because “it would be nice.” I think people can tell when there’s a twinge of resentment or perhaps a lack of whole-heartedness in putting forth social niceties. So why keep doing that?
What also seems to be coming more in focus for me is that it’s not what others do or don’t do; or how they do it that’s truly meaningful. It’s how I feel towards them that’s more important for me to get a firm handle on. Otherwise, one can be flung back and forth in a morass of flotsam and jetsam depending upon what other people do – reacting rather than being still and grounded in oneself.
It seems to me that being honest with oneself is truly what matters in order to “focus and crop.” A lot of people can’t do it: be honest, that is. To me, it’s NOT someone else’s behavior and whether they might change or not that is the precursor to making important decisions in my life. Rather, it’s the quality of the emotional connection you have inside yourself towards that person that one needs to measure and ground oneself to, whatever that might be. Cropping out all the concomitant noise that can contain envy, competition, judgment or even a habit of self-punishment can make the picture much more clear – even if it’s not what we’d necessarily prefer to see in our heart of hearts.
So I guess focus and cropping are two different things. Focusing on what’s truly within (including the good, the bad and the ugly) is one thing. Cropping out all the other crap (pardon my French!) makes the picture more legible in a second step of the process.
Sometimes, we may feel initially that the emotional connections we have with people are not strong enough or have been so worn down by time and circumstance that there’s just not much there any longer. Only we ourselves know whether there is a deep reservoir or only a trickling mountain stream within. After awhile, what feels at first like a trickling stream opens up into a deep reservoir the size of the Mississippi River. I don’t think anyone can underestimate the depth of maternal love, even after a lifetime of missed opportunities. Least of all, myself.
Life doesn’t have to be that hard if we can be honest with ourselves within. That’s where the focus and cropping really helps! Great advice! Thanks, A.!