I have done a lot of work on myself over the last two years since Suzanne died. This morning, I had a revelation.
My attention has still been scattered. The revelation came when listening to a podcast about brain science. It dawned on me that I must apply my attention to what has become most important to me. This means placing it on activities and relationships that serve me—and not just what I “think” I need to place my attention and focus on.
Brain science is a funny thing to think about because it isn’t something that comes to mind when we talk about losing our person. But we as widows and widowers have experienced a major trauma and our brains actually are re-wired as a result of loss (this is partly brain elasticity). “Brain fog” is also a real thing for widow/ers, and most of us never escape from that fog because we don’t always recognize it.
While many of us go to therapists (who don’t really know the whole the picture), they don’t necessarily diagnose brain fog as a condition. Mostly, they see it as a byproduct of depression, grief, etc. But it is physiological, real, and it can debilitate us. I know. I had to work through it myself about a year ago. And overcoming brain fog is not simply a matter of “mind over matter.” It’s something that we have to recognize in ourselves and then choose to find a way to cure it.
For me, curing my brain fog was a matter of recognizing that I was suffering from a combination of changed diet and lack of exercise. I was lacking vital nutrients, fats and acids in my body that caused my synapses to fail to fire. I recognized these things in me. As a result, I changed my diet and introduced supplements. Immediately after starting my new regimen, it was as if a light switch had been flicked in my head. Overnight, the brain fog was literally gone.
When I focused my attention on solving that issue in my own brain, I was able to overcome what had felt an insurmountable obstacle. Now, I struggle with the exercise thing, but realize this is because I have not focused my attention on it.
Commitment to Change
By committing my attention and focusing on being in the moment, I have realized that I can start to focus my attention on the things that matter most to me. Not because I want to “control” all these situations and outcomes, but because I know that by focusing, I can attract what I want the most. The things that are important to me. The old saying is 100% true: “Where your attention goes, energy flows.”
These last few weeks, I realize that my scattered attention was showing up in other things I have been doing (my relationships and my work life). As a result, I decided to transition my focus—and my life—again. As I revisited the path I have been walking, I saw all the wonderful things I have achieved in my life since Suzanne died. And I am proud of what I have already accomplished.
But I realize that I have still been scattering my attention; meaning I have not focused my attention on where my energy was flowing. I was trying to do and be too much for too many others, and I was once again losing sight of my own goals and dreams. So, I have chosen to narrow my focus—in my personal life and in my business.
Shifting Gears Again
In my life, I have started to focus more attention on my personal health, on exercise and my diet again. It has been a bit neglected as I have felt out of integrity with my own personal goals. In my work life, I have narrowed the focus of my coaching practice to work only with widowers for the foreseeable future. My journey has not been easy. None of our journeys are. And what I have experienced is relevant to others. I know my acquired wisdom can help others. That’s why I am now directing my attention to specifically helping widowers over the next few months, maybe even years. After that, I will probably also help widows and the children bereft of their parents.
This is a major shift for me. I know my expertise and abilities lay in being authentic and empathetic to the other widows and widowers that have a similar existence and experience to mine but may need more healing. By focusing my energy and attention on helping widowers in the short term, I may be helping hundreds, possibly thousands of men achieve acceptance of the life they now live—helping to find meaning and purpose after losing our person.