Finding focus

In recent weeks I have had an obsession with getting my house organized. I feel I need to do this so that I can focus. This has extended to cleaning up my blogs as well.

I can relate to the article, Lifestyles of the (semi)Disconnected by Angela Parker on her site, To de-stress, Angela cut social media from her life. She now finds time to read books, hang out with family and pursue artistic activities.

I have not been as ruthless or radical as Angela in terms of eliminating all of my social networks. Some months ago I discontinued LinkedIn because of spam mail I was getting. As far as Twitter goes, I saw from the beginning that it would be a constant distraction so I dropped out. Pinterest looked like it could be very consuming so I never subscribed.

But I am still connected to Facebook. I have a lot of friends and family that don’t live nearby and with whom I value  making occasional contact on Facebook. I admit that I have to sift through a lot of chaff for the wheat, so to speak, but so far it is worth it for me.

Today, in my effort to become more focused, I deleted three of my websites. One was a collection of interesting trivia, another, a photography site, and the third , a place where I wrote the occasional article. It was a little painful, the letting go part, but I feel it is necessary.

I compare my life with a smorgasbord where there are numerous items to sample. For years I have enjoyed the selection but currently I am driven to simplify and define what it is I value.

How does a person go from smorgasbord to specialty? It almost seems like my brain isn’t wired that way. Yet the possibility is beginning to capture my imagination.

Relaxing in the sun

I just spent six days lounging by a pool in the Arizona sun. One of my sisters rented a house in Phoenix and invited me and our two other sisters to stay with her. All of my family live in central Canada and I live on the West Coast, so it was lovely to get together and relax away from our usual responsibilities.

Today is my first full day back, and my mind is returning to the feeling of the warmth of the sun on my body, draining the tension from me. I was conscious of the fact that I had accumulated way too much stress and had not been able to shake it. The sun did wonders for me. While my sisters are sun bathers, I tan in moderation, but I made an exception for this trip and it was good for me.

I have never had a “tropical vacation.” Not being one to lay in the sun I thought this wouldn’t be for me, but I think I may be changing my mind. I enjoy a stimulating vacation where I keep moving and enjoying new sights and experiences. But I can now say that I see value in slowing down and simply resting.

I am trying to find the words to describe what happened to me as I relaxed in the sun. It was as though there was a cable or a spring that was tightly wound around my abdomen and my chest and even my neck and head. By the final day in the sun, it began to release. In my head there was a disconnect between the right and the left side of my brain. This may sound strange. But it felt as though the blockage between the two sides opened and the flow of information began again.

I don’t want to lose this feeling of relaxation, but I know my habits and my lifestyle are what brought me to this place of tension. It remains to be seen if I can bring about the changes necessary to maintain this peaceful feeling.

Give me the evidence

I recently read an article, yet another claim to a cancer cure. It stated that this product was 10,000 times more effective than chemo. That statement alone should clue you in.

It claims that pharmaceutical companies could not come up with a synthetic version so they covered up the evidence of studies done some decades ago that proved this was a cancer cure. Are you serious?

Why does this article not name or quote any of these studies? Did the author have access to these studies, if they exist?

If you find an article like this, go ahead and try the “cure” if it sounds safe enough to you. But, about the article itself, use the following check list. The more questions to which you answer yes, the less likely it is reliable information.

1. Does it sound sensationalistic? Does it go on and on making claims and repeating itself instead of stating simple facts?

2. Does it exaggerate claims?

3. Are the claims expressed in vague, unscientific terms?

4. Does it lack supportive evidence? Are the names of the people and institutions who carried out the studies mysteriously missing? Are actual quotes of the results of these studies not to be found in the article? Are quotes partial or taken out of context? Is there really not a single shred of actual “evidence” in the article?

5. Does it sound like an attack on another institution or commonly held belief?

You might ask why the author of this article would go to the effort. For attention maybe? Maybe he/she gets some kind of pleasure out of duping people? Maybe to exploit people’s vulnerabilities, or their gullibility? Your guess is as good as mine.

So, the next time you read an article, use your discretion.