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What you focus on grows

What you focus on grows

. 2 min read

There's a universal constant: what you focus on grows.

If you focus on your joy, it grows. Your pain, it increases. Your angst.

When you feed an appetite, it increases. The wonderful choice we have, maybe the only one we really have--we choose what we focus on. What we feed our minds.

Each winter, I want to curl up in bed with my best friend Netflix and come out sometime when the sun rises before 8AM again and the weather isn't cold, dark, and wet. I bottom out, hard. For a long time, I thought this was just normal. I didn't realize until dealing with it for a decade and a half that it was a cyclical depressive disorder called seasonal affective disorder. I didn't realize that the lack of light was impacting my melatonin, increasing it, till I was sleepy at the wrong time of day, irritable, slipping towards depression, feeling numb. I literally needed to see the light to reset my circadian clock. Each morning, I sat in bright light every morning, like it was my own personal sun.

I had a choice to make, I could wait to wake up in the spring with the birds and the flowers or I could recalibrate and wake up sooner. It was work--it was hard, inconvenient and painstaking. But it was mine to do.

I could delight in it, if I chose to.

That's the power of choice, we can't control our circumstances. We can't control our outcomes. The only thing we can control is ourselves. That's why a fruit of the spirit isn't others-control, it's self-control.

That's what I decided to focus on: delight. During that time in the happy light each morning, I drew in my happy journal. I didn't feel it, I barely felt anything. But I focused it on it, one little spike of joy at a time.

What you focus on grows.

Everything is awake outside now: the flowers are blooming, the trees have leafed out, I wake up most mornings to see the sunrise, the butterflies zig and zag, there's birdsong.

It's delightful outside in the Spring. The world is waking up, the same miracle unfurls every year.

But this year, I'm awake too. I've been awake to delight longer than any other year. Because I chose to be.

What you focus on grows.