Greetings to everyone from Jazianzza and me, and welcome to another Jottings From Jazianzza.
Thank you for joining us on our journey toward the publication of what is basically Jazi’s memoir, Bee-Coming Strong. This month we want to explore a vital skill millions of us struggle with: the ability to focus.
In the last chapter of Bee-Coming Strong Jazianzza becomes intrigued by a ladybug instead of paying attention to where she and her sisters are flying. She ends up in a very precarious situation. I can’t say I blame her, though, because ladybugs are pretty cool. (And did you know that ladybugs are beetles and not bugs? And that they can eat up to 75 aphids in a day? And that they smell with their feet and antennae?) Oh! See there? I lost my focus and went into an entirely different, albeit fascinating, subject.
Fortunately, because of training, I can usually notice fairly quickly what’s happening and bring myself back to the point I want to make. MamaQueenzieBee teaches Jazi skills to strengthen her ability to focus which Jazi passes on to readers so they can develop those skills, too.
Jazianzza is fascinated by the beautiful, slow movement of Lydah Butter Fly’s wings – so different from her own incredibly fast-moving wings. She focuses on the details of Lydah’s beautiful wings. She hopes parents will join children outside to really look at butterflies and bees, see the difference for themselves, and become intrigued by their little lives. Becoming curious and intrigued by nature serves all of us in many ways and is a healthy alternative to being glued to our screens.
Scientists have established that too much time on our electronic devices interferes with our ability to concentrate well. Addiction to screens can keep us from connecting with nature or other people. It’s not uncommon to see a family sitting together in a restaurant or a person walking through a beautiful park – each with their eyes glued to a phone.
Bringing conscious attention and focus to the present moment and the environment we are in is an aspect of what we often call “mindfulness”. Jazianzza calls it “bee-fulness”. MamaQueenzieBee teaches Jazi how to focus on her breathing. Mindfully watching her breath helps her control her mind and emotions. At a crucial moment in Jazi’s story, she uses this ability to reduce her fear and take action that serves the whole hive.
When we develop the skills MamaQueenzieBee teaches Jazi, we are no longer at the mercy of either our own mind or those around us. What Jazi learns helps her become strong. She shares her knowledge through her story to help children become strong, too. It all starts with being able to focus
Ramakrishna Ananda, the yoga master that I’ve been blessed to study with for almost 40 years, recalls how as a teenager he was fascinated with the idea of concentration. He bought some glow-in-the-dark paint and put a dot on the ceiling above his bed, one at the foot of his bed, and one on each wall to his side. He was then able to practice focusing his mind only on the dot of color and nothing else when he went to sleep. He did this for fun because he instinctively seemed to understand that this was a skill he wanted to cultivate. I’ve done it myself, and it’s helpful for my wandering mind to just settle down and let go of everything except that dot as I drop off to sleep. You might try it for yourself or the young ones in your life. It’s so much easier to get a handle on it when we’re young.
Lastly, here’s a delightful, short, animated video that illustrates how mindfulness helps us manage our emotions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
May this new month bring you and your loved ones a greater ability to be mindful. It’s truly the best way to enjoy our family, nature, our lives, and the Universe by being able to be present with it all.
If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath.Amit Ray