I spent the good part of my birthday wandering around NYC, popping into stores and warming myself from the cold but sunny weather with some decadent hot chocolate. It was relaxing, low-key, and a perfectly designed shift away from my routine. In essence, I created a holiday for myself by diverting away from my usual hustle and bustle and focusing in on what felt the most comfortable—time alone. With my days consumed by a caring focus on my clients, students, and everyone involved with Yoffie Life, a focus on no one is a rare treat. That self-discovery seemed profound until later in the week, when a photoshoot and a couple of boys in a public park made me re-assess the meaning of that time alone.
A few days after my birthday, I was pushed waaay outside my comfort zone while “modeling” a line of activewear in a public park. Stepping out of my usual director role to follow cues to look sultry, serious, silly, and fun in front of the camera, for me, is one short notch up from painful. So, while taking a break from listening to the photographer remind me to relax my mouth, open my eyes, and expand my brow, and the cues of her assistant to close my ribcage, open my collarbones, and relax my shoulders, I desperately searched for a new focus. I couldn’t help but tune into the laughter and screams of two young boys running around nearby. They were consumed in their own world—a collective imaginary world, if you will. One boy, clearly the leader, called out scenarios for the other, his accomplice, to follow. They used the colorful benches as part of their obstacle course and completely ignored us as well as about a half a dozen seniors looking on with delight. And then, after a few minutes, the accomplice stopped the action to proclaim, “Okay! Now I am the center of attention.” Without hesitation, the once-leader fell into the role of the accomplice, and they started again, with a new leader in charge of their imaginary world.
I laughed out loud at this bold declaration and smiled with delight as they swapped roles so effortlessly. And it was then I started to consider what it may feel like to be able to proclaim my own version of “I am the center of attention.” It’s less about actually being the center of attention by others, and more about implementing techniques that allow you to be the center of yourself—even if just for a few moments.
My birthday was certainly indulgent—I loved the few hours alone just to stroll, without a destination or purpose. And I certainly encourage everyone to spend days or hours of indulgence whenever possible. But the real lesson of my birthday and the following few days was acknowledging that it’s possible to find moments in each day to be the center of your own attention.
This week I challenge you to tap into what it means to be the center of attention, to yourself and for yourself. If you need guidance, perhaps try one of the easiest techniques to shift away from your routine and into yourself: conscious breathing. Start with just 3 minutes. Stop. Set your phone or watch timer for 3 minutes if it helps. Sit back in your chair or couch, place your hand on your belly and simply breathe. Focus only on the rise and fall of your belly. If you find your mind wandering, try saying or thinking “inhale” as your belly fills up and “exhale” as your belly empties. See our challenge, Breathe to Reduce Stress, for more breath techniques. It doesn’t matter whether you breathe, take a walk outside, or just wash your face mindfully to break your routine. Start small and see how just a few minutes focused on you can help you better re-direct your attention and focus to all your other obligations.
Make A Change Today,