Lower Grand, DTLA

“This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.” – Walter Sobchack, The Big Lebowski 

Memories of the home I was born in continue to live vividly in my mind. Our basement was traditional for the Midwest. The walls were covered in old fashioned wood paneling. We had a fancy vintage style pool table smack dab in the middle. It was surrounded by a lot of large neon signs, the ones you would see in a pool hall or a bowling alley. 

My Dad had owned a bowling alley long before I was born and he loved displaying his favorite trinkets. On the burled oak bar that ran the entire length of the wall, were some of my Dad’s original bowling pins. Next to the bar, lie a black nylon bag that was a bit tattered and torn. Inside was my Dad’s lucky bowling bowl.

Bowling is a lot like yoga. I am not sure my Dad would agree! But I’ll bet I get the same feelings from my yoga that he did from bowling. You may be wondering what on earth my childhood memories, bowling, and yoga have to do with one another? I would be too! The answer is focus and balance. 

Bowling is a learned skill. Our first time in the bowling alley usually means more gutter balls than actually bowling. It takes time to understand that bowling requires focus. It requires concentration. It requires “drishti.” Drishti is yogic language for focus. In every single pose, we are taught to focus on a certain point. That’s our “drishti.” If we lose our drishti, we tend to lose our balance. The more focused we are on one point, the easier it is to hold a pose – the easier it is to find balance.

To be a successful bowler, we must concentrate our focus. In other words, we must stay in our own lane. The moment we lose focus – we begin shifting our focus to other lanes, to our competitors, to anything other than the target in front of us, we lose our concentration and, most likely, our target. Learning the art of “drishti,” of targeted focus and concentration, improves our balance and helps us to stay in our own lane. It helps us to hit our targets. 

Living a balanced life requires drishti. It requires focusing on ourselves, not outwardly but inwardly. If we are focused on others, on competition or comparison, on every shiny object that distracts us, we lose our balance as well as our ability to hit our target in life – our greatest potential – our best life.

I suppose that’s why I gravitate toward yoga. It feels as if the answers to life are found on the mat. I’ve been spending a lot more time on the mat lately. One of the greatest joys of yoga is the connection to our inner world – the only world that’s real – the world where change happens. It’s shifting our focus from without to within. It’s searching for insight – for an internal connection to ourselves and to truth, our truth. It’s also helping us make sense of our lives, of ourselves.

If you’ve ever watched a world class surfer, the key to their success is “drishti.” It’s an intensive focus involving world class concentration. In the spiritual world, we are taught to focus on the end result. We learn to live as though our wishes have been fulfilled – to live in the now, while focusing our energy on seeing ourselves as the best version of ourselves. We are taught to “Be that now.” 

Midlife tends to be a time of introspection. We tend to spend the first half of our lives focusing outward. The second half is intended to focus inward. “In-sight” comes with maturity and a profound sense of balance. When we’re young, we’re easily distracted by shiny objects. When we’re babies, we gaze up at a mobile with toys spinning around. As we get older, the shiny objects that tend to capture our attention are often bigger, glitzier, and far more expensive. Our focus tends to be pulled outward, more and more. Until, one day, we wake up and realize that we aren’t happy. We feel that something’s off. We feel out of balance. We begin to crave a different focus – an inward focus – a focus on something more meaningful. We may not be able to put our finger on exactly what we’re searching for yet we know it can’t be found outside of us.

Moxie requires focus and intense concentration. Mastering Modern Midlife requires “drishti.” It requires staying in our own lane while shifting our focus from without to within. It means taking our eyes off anything outside of our intended target. It means letting go of competition and comparison. The truth is our only competitor is ourselves. A Meaningful Midlife requires a meaningful goal of being a better human tomorrow than we were today. Achieving our goals, our target and our best life requires us staying in our own lane and keeping our eye on the prize – our best self – the life of our dreams, the one that lives in our heart.

So focus … line up your shot, envision the result, and let it roll! Be the ball Danielle, and Stay Fierce, Beauties.

Need More Moxie?! See all my Moxie On Monday’s!

One comment

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What a fabulous post, Catherine. I loved reading a bit about your father too.
And what a perfect reminder to stay in our lanes and practice drishti. I’ve been changing lanes a bit lately, but for me it is time. I know I can’t stay and do the same thing for too long. But when I go within, practicing drishti, I know that is actually “my lane” – to mix things up and try new adventures.

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