Saturday, January 19, 2008

Spotting


"It is the mark of great people to treat trifles as trifles and important matters as important." (Doris Lessing)


Back in dance class, we were taught to “spot” when we were spinning.

Spotting is where you keep your focus on a particular spot in the room, and as you spin you whip your head around in order to keep that point in your focus for as much of the spin as possible. There’s a part of the rotation when you are not focused on your target, but this is brief, because as you spin you whip your head around and refocus on your spot.

Spotting is the secret to successful turns. It keeps the dancer oriented and aware of her movement and direction. It also prevents disorientation from a lack of focus and diminishes the dizziness from spinning.

I think spotting is the secret to success in life as well.

There are plenty of things that compete for my attention as I twist and twirl through existence…

There are the bills and the laundry, the furniture that needs dusting and the malfunctioning computer that needs repair…

There’s a mountain of negativity in the world and on the evening news.

There’s the guy who cut me off on the highway, and the snotty inattentive waitress at the restaurant, and that automated call that comes through at dinnertime every night with “a very important message for the cardholder.”

There are always errands to run and appointments to make.

And then there are all the little surprises that creep up on me when I least expect them and really make my head spin…

But I try not to let less important things consume me and set me spinning out of control. It’s not that they don’t receive some of my attention, but they don’t monopolize my focus. I can’t focus on everything, or I’ll end up dizzy, or back in bed with the covers pulled up over my head.

Though I may turn in different directions during the course of my day, or my week or my year, I try to remember to refocus on the spot.

For me, the spot is filled only by the ones I love most and the things that are important to me.

My family is there. They’re my main focus. They’re the reason I do everything that I do. My husband, my daughter, and my dogs comprise the bull’s-eye of my spot.

The rest of my family is there too, in a ring around my bull’s-eye. And my extended family and my husband’s family are in another ring. I have a ring of close friends, too.

I think at the end of the day, all that really matters to me are the ones I love, and the relationships I have with them.

There are other things I care about, of course. I care about my job, but only because I need to make money to help support my family. It's not one of my central rings.

I’m passionate about photography though, and I’m still working towards making that the main money-maker. Photography gets a ring in my target.

And there are causes that I care about, like homelessness and hunger and animal welfare. I’m going to try to make a ring to do some good this year, even if it’s only making donations. I’ll see what I can do…

I have to remember to include myself somewhere in my spot, because it’s easy to forget what I need. My needs are simple though: I need exercise, I need to be creative, and I need to spend quality time with those I love. I’ll have to remember to give myself a ring in my spot this year.

Even if everything else becomes a swirl of deadlines and to-do lists and problems and inconveniences, it’s my goal for 2008 is to keep my priorities in sight, maintain focus on the things that are most important to me, and make sure I am truly devoting quality time to them and enjoying them. The year will be gone before we know it, and I don't want mine to have been a blur.


"Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power." (Stephen Covey)

28 comments:

MyMaracas said...

Woohoo! You're back!

I love your analogy of spotting, staying focused on the important things in life's hectic spin. It sounds like you have all the best things in that target of yours.

What a wonderful post, thought provoking and centered ... and that photo is amazing too. Thanks for taking time to write this. I'm printing this one out and tucking it into my briefcase.

Vicki

Deth Bleedly said...

i like that analogy it makes perfect sense. with the world spinning around, you deffinetly need to find your spot.i like this and will have to keep this in mind as i muddle through life. thank you!!!

Bankerchick said...

You're back and blogging in fine form. Spotting the priorities in ones life is critical. I miss you cause you don't blog everyday and that is another priority that may not be in your outer rings. When you do post it is always thought provoking and to the point! I will start focusing on my priorities, and it will probably show up in my post one day or maybe not! Happy New Year

Tammie Jean said...

Hi Vicki! Thanks for giving me a little nudge to post today! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the post - I'm a little late on the "new year" sentiment, but I didn't want to let the moment pass...

Hi Deth! That's the trick though, right? To keep in mind what's important and let the rest spin away... This post was my reminder - I'm glad it spoke to you too :)

Hi Bankerchick! Thank you so much - I miss you too :) I wish I had more time to keep up with all my blogging buddies. I really should give blogging a ring... Maybe I can try to be a little more consistent this year...

Travis said...

This is the reason I click over here every so often...because once in awhile there's a real nice nugget.

Tammie Jean said...

Hi Travis! Well I'm glad you still check in on me every now and again, even though I've been posting so infrequently :)

ReesePie said...

Focus is indeed an important thing. I'm trying to remember that in the midst of the chaos of my impending wedding... thanks for the reminder!

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

Teeje-

Glad you returned. You have been missed. Very interesting post from a perspective standpoint.

DrillerAA said...

This is my first time here and I'm glad I stopped by. Spotting is one of the secrets to a happy life and focusing on your family is a great place to start.
Very nicely done.

CS said...

Good for you. I am glad to hear you have found a way to hadle the things thrown at you, and I sure hope you make yourself a BIG ring!

Elizabeth said...

With so much going on right now I desperately need to keep my focus. My spot keeps moving all around me and refuses to stay still. *sigh*

LZ Blogger said...

Tammie Jean ~ You are SPOT ON! ~ jb///

Malathionman said...

Then I feel privalaged that you take the time to leave comments on my blog, thanks! You definately have your priorities in order and it is cool that you squeeze me into your busy day.

Kiyotoe said...

Excellent post TJ.

And I can completely learn from this metaphor you've given us.

Maybe if I spotted a little more, I might not fall on my ass so much.

Life gets hectic like that, ya' know?
Thanks for the advice. ;-)

Tammie Jean said...

Hi Reesepie! Wedding-planning is a crazy, hectic, exciting time! But you'll get through it all and have wonderful memories from the day :)

Hi Bud! Yes, I've returned :) My presence is still "spotty" but I'm going to try to stay consistent...

Hi Drilleraa! And very nice to meet you - I'm so glad you stopped by :) I will be sure to pay you a visit...

Hi CS! Well no promises on giving myself a big ring, but I will definitely try to keep my needs more top of mind this year...

Hi Elizabeth! I sure know how that can be... too much going on leaves you with no time to focus on anything in particular. I hope things settle down for you soon.

Hi JB! And thanks! I certainly try to be... it's a lesson that easy to forget though when things get hectic.

Hi Malathionman! I have to say, I've missed being able to check in on my friends the past few months. I'm hoping to be able to keep up with everyone better this year...

Hi Kiyotoe! I've been thinking about you - I'm glad you stopped by! Yes life does get hectic, and I often find myself getting dizzy from it all. I think maintaining focus will help make 2008 a good year... I hope it's a good year for you too :)

Glamourpuss said...

Wow. This made me laugh for two reasons:

1. because I'm trying to be more focussed this year and not scatter myself across a dozen loosely defined goals.

2. because I've been trying to learn how to spot so I don't get so dizzy when pole dancing.

Great post.

Puss

Tammie Jean said...

Hi Puss! It sounds like this post was timed perfectly then, hmm? I must say, I'm always quite impressed with the amount of goals you have, but I'm sure that can get tiring before long. I hope this year is a great one for you!

Aynde said...

I SOOOOOOO needed to read this today. Hell I needed to read it two weeks ago. *laugh* I'll remember to keep track of my spot during my spin cycle of a life.

Tammie Jean said...

Hi Aynde! "Spin cycle of a life" - I can sooo relate! I'm so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post :)

velvet said...

I love this post! What a great idea to have a spot... thanks for giving me something to think about. :-)

Jocelyn said...

Terrific metaphor--it took me back to ballet class when I was 7. If only I'd known its larger life applications!

Well done.

CS said...

Congratulations! I have an award for you over at my place!

VE said...

Great analogy. For me it's a little more like choosing a path in the forest. If I do the same one over and over, it becomes so deep and rutted that I will never be able to climb out and that will make it very difficult to take another and I'll only see one destination. If I make too many, I'll inevitably get lost on the paths. I have to find the balance to allow many paths to different outcomes to make a better me.

citizen of the world said...

Hey, just wanted to let you know I've changed cyber homes!

Deth Bleedly said...

hi tammie jean, havent heard from you lately just wanted to check in hope all is well!!!

Jules said...

What a fantastic analogy. I was a dancer so it makes perfect sense and I need to keep a better eye on mine.

Patty O said...

That's a good analogy. Everybody needs to remember to keep what's important to them in focus, and it's good to see you're doing that now.

LZ Blogger said...

Where in the heck have you been? I hope that all is well? ~ jb///