As this year’s InterPlay Life Practice Program has gotten underway I have gained a deeper appreciation for the first InterPlay Tool, “Easy Focus”. To illustrate the concept of “easy focus” on a body level we often use our hands to create fake binoculars for ourselves and find one thing in the room to look really closely at and study hard. Try that now. What did you notice in the rest of your body from using “hard focus”? Then after a little while remove the “binoculars” and let go of the “hard focus” and allow yourself to take in the entire room while still having your eyes resting on the object of previous focus. And just notice what happens in your body. I notice that the item that had my full attention sort of fades into the full “landscape” of the room and my body relaxes a bit.
As I reflect on this exercise, I realize how important knowing about and practicing “easy focus” has become to me. Many times in my own life I have focused on my own self-judged inadequacies. For example if I put my attention on how messy my car seems to get no matter how many times I clean it up, and let that be the point of my life that I focus on and judge myself about, then I could see myself as a big failure! When I broaden my focus and see that my messy car is a result of living a fun and full life with lots of wonderful people in it…then the messy car sort of fades into the landscape of my life.
The truth is in much of our lives we need to have a “hard focus”. It allows us to accomplish tasks and pay attention to details that need to be handled like paying bills! It is fun to explore the parts of our lives that need more focus as well as the parts that need an easier focus. Simply paying attention allows for new possibilities and choices to emerge.
In InterPlay we often play with our focus through the medium of dance. Sometimes we focus on allowing a particular body part to initiate our movement. The dance becomes very engaging to witness as the mover experiments with the infinite possible ways to move that body part and how the rest of the body comes along with it. Try it now…focus on your elbow and let it dance. Notice how the rest of the body moves because of the focused attention. Now do a dance focused on your knee and notice. Then allow the focus to move from knee to elbow and back and forth. What did you notice?
As I continue to play with “easy and hard focus”…I notice that things that seem to be opposites don’t cause as much stress in my body. Whenever I feel conflicted about something I get muscles spasms in my neck that give me a headache. I notice that simply stepping back from labels like liberal and conservative or Christian and Buddhist or shy and extroverted allows more room to have all of myself and my muscles begin to relax. I don’t have to split off and give myself a label from either side…I just take it in with an easier focus knowing that one end of the polarity is not all that I am. When I do this I find I have a feeling of confidence about the uniqueness of who I am in my body and I move through my relationships with more ease. I don’t have to have small categories to fit everyone into understand them. I can step back and allow myself to see the beauty of each unique bodyspirit.
In InterPlay we get lots of opportunities to flow between a “hard focused” concentration on a particular form and a more easy focus where the body integrates all of the skills it has been playing with and turns them into a little moment of grace and art! Ultimately the art we are creating with all of our “hard and easy focus” and opposites is our own life. As we learn to practice “easy focus” we are able to take in more of life in a way that is full of love for all that is! Wheeee!!!!