The art of changing the situation you’re in, by changing yourself.
If you want to find freedom, or more alternatives, in any given situation, you must be able to change the way you look at it. If we want to escape or overcome our biological freeze, flight or fight instinct we need to have a way out, or rather beyond.
Focusshifting is the power to change your focus or attitude in any given situation and therefore change your possibilities in the situation. It may have direct effect on the people around you. Think of the opening you might suddenly find if you give trust where non was expected. Or the simple power it has, when your thinking is blocked to stand up and walk a bit about.
The way you look at a situation, the world, other people or at yourself decides the situation. In an empty room a thief will notice ways in and out and expensive stuff. A cleaner will notice the mess and a lover will look for signs of the other. A mistrusting lover will look for evidence of betrayal. A loser will feel left alone and a monk a place to meditate.
Some people focus on each situation with the same attitude and wonder why always the same things happen to them. Others may shift focus for different situations, without being aware. At their work they look where care is needed, at home they expect their partner to nag. Thus they too miss the possibility for change.
It helps to be able to self reflect. Can you observe yourself in what you are doing or how you approach things? If yes, then you might skip the next part. If not then ask yourself the following questions, about your own behavior: How do you stand in most situations? Do you often meet the same kind of situation or problems?
How do most people react to you?
What questions do you ask most often?
What are your (hidden) goals or intentions? Do you strive for affection, success, compassion or recognition of others? Or rewards?
Which emotions control you most?
Which thoughts come up if you are alone? What do others say to you most often?
When you try to find the common factor, each of these questions will help to see yourself clearer.
Shifting your Focus
To shift, you must first discover they way you are focused. (self reflect how you feel stuck or answer the questions above). Then there are five ways to shift. Try each of these when you feel stuck and or where you feel free to try things out and discover which makes the difference for you.
1. Switch to Physical.
This is the most important and essential one. Go back to your body. Check your bodies sensations. Notice tensions, breath, pains, posture. Change posture. Move a bit. Stand up or sit down (somewhere else). Check your feelings. Be present with what is. Breath. Just breath and observe your breath. Feel your bottom. Wiggle your toes. When necessary share how you feel. Or get everyone back in their bodies. :)
2. Switch to Meta
If the talk is stuck, talk about the talk itself. Check back into the purpose or objective of the meeting. Are relationships improved? What is the real intention and attitude of everyone present? Do you feel there’s hidden agenda’s? What’s needed to get everyone back on the same page, or working for the same vision?
3. Change the rules, if need be, break them.
Life’s a game. If the rules don’t work change them. Do it by agreement. If that doesn’t work, change the situation. Have a break. Give some compliments. Hug someone. Do the unexpected. Tell the truth. Create art with what’s there. Do something very strange. Etc. Alienation often helps to make people wonder. If also may help you feel more free. It builds courage. And from how people react you learn consciously and subconsciously about their attitudes, playfulness and willingness to open up to some humor or new angles.
4. Switch Perspective
Look different at the situation, from a different frame, from a different angle, at different aspects, with a different state of mind. Look with beginners mind, look as a child or alien, look from the puppies state of mind. Look with one of de Bono’s thinking hats on. You can do this in secret, offer others new perspectives or share what you see through a new perspective.
5. Leave. Leave your current role and switch or leave for real.
You can always go away. Even when you’re in prison you can leave, albeit in that case into dreaming or imagination. Or start an escape plan. Or you can switch to another role.
6. Rule no. 6: don’t take yourself so f#*king seriously.
Read rule no. 3 again. Why did you pass it, or if you tried something from it, why didn’t it work? Could it be you brought it with too much tension? The escape out of fight, flight and freeze is play. So play.
7. The mystic way.
Shamans are experts at focus shifting. Some are shape shifters. They change their whole being. You can become a hunter and become extra focussed on an aspect or individual. You can be a rabbit and feel deeply what is threatening. Once again, be free in what you do and act with compassion, even as a hunter. Or become a healer. See how you can change everything through the eyes of the healer, the magician sensing the whole pattern.
One such healer role seeks to rebalance the whole through mirroring what is happening or people’s attitudes. This is a combination of 3. and 6. When your mind can’t get the situation unstuck, let your body do the work. Shift to it’s unconscious wisdom, by acting out what is, beyond your understanding. Mirror what’s happening. Become a fool or jester, mirroring one or more people. This is precarious work, but if done right, all the undercurrents become visible and or tangible. Always mirror with compassion, never out of anger or the ‘get’ someone!
In short they all have various aspects of Play (breaking rules, flexible switching, humor) and or Wisdom (meta, consciousness, perspective change). Thus when you develop both, you’ll gain more freedom. The ‘tricks’ above may help you to do just that. :)