Sunday, May 1, 2011

Focus Shift

In film and video I love to see shots that shift focus. These are shots where something is in sharp focus with surroundings out of focus, then, without moving the camera, the focus shifts to something else in the picture.
It's fun to do when the conditions are right. It requires setting the camera up with a narrow depth of field, planning the shift, then perfectly shifting the focus from one object to the other so the focus lands just right at the end of the shot. It takes practice.
All the same things are in the picture but our attention is moved - shifted - from one thing to another.
Oftentimes in life our depth of field is very narrow - especially when dealing with a crisis or a perceived crisis. We focus sharply on the problems but everything else is far out of focus. We see one tree in the vast forest around us. We see this day and cannot imagine different days in the future.
Some people live their lives in that narrow depth of field only acting on those things in sharp focus in that moment. There is no tomorrow with consequences from today. There is only a focus on "me" and all else, everyone else, is out of focus. The focus never changes.
Most of us feel uncomfortable in that kind of depth. When we become sharply focused on crisis or pity me or "me, me, me" it isn't a happy place. And when we see it in others, they are not happy people. It's an energy drain, not only for them, but also for those nearby.
So, how does a focus shift happen? It takes practice and effort. First, we have to realize that there are a lot of things in the picture that we're not seeing clearly. That's been a real struggle for me sometimes. It's something I have to keep practicing but here is what I have learned. Immerse yourself in positive thoughts. The only way to change what is around you, is to change how you are thinking. Shift focus.
That is really challenging when faced with a large crisis. At times, I've felt frozen - stuck in quicksand. I was so focused on the problem, I couldn't see an answer and my energy was drained to a point, I could hardly act on potential solutions. Focus shift.
I started waking up every morning and going to sleep every night recounting what is in my life that I am thankful about. I began reading positive things like "Live Now: Touch Today!" by Tambra Warner Sabatini. I began to connect more with positive people and carefully distance negative people.
I'm not advocating ignoring problems. But what I have found is that shifting focus to the positive, gives me energy to solve problems. And as the days pass, the problems are fewer and less dramatic. Everyday I suddenly have a flash - it's almost a surprise - 'I'm happy,' I think to myself. And I smile at myself - Why is that a surprise? Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

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