solstice focus

My sister once told me, we don't multitask. What happens is we do a lot of things, really fast, one after the other. Makes sense. However, I am not convinced this is practical. Or healthy. Or even useful.

It's likely why I sometimes end up at the wrong subway stop. It's why the milk ends up in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. Keys left in the keyhole...overnight. Typos and missed appointments suddenly have explanations.

But in all this multitasking, there is one big thing missing.


I have been doing a lot of things really fast, one after the other for most of my life. But the past month has been a bit...full on. It is precisely why I have not been doing a lot of other things like playing tennis, or reading, or spending time with my family, or writing in this blog. A lot of the things I have been doing are assignments and projects for my job. A job that, usually, requires a fair amount of focus.

Pissing and moaning aside, one of the more enjoyable things I've done recently was make this video, a lifetime achievement tribute for Patrick Brown, former CBC foreign correspondent.

It takes a certain type of person to do a job like that. A person with talents that include language, storytelling, being a quick study, a quick wit, having a sense of compassion, humour, resonance, integrity, humour and adventure. That, and you also have to be intelligent, courageous, driven, passionate, and of course, focused.

Earlier this month, Mr. Brown was honoured for his lifetime (which incidentally, is not over) of achievements, by the Canadian Journalism Foundation. After the video, he walked up on stage at the Royal York to accept the award, and what did he do?

He thanked everyone else.

Ça c'est de la classe. Perhaps humble, perhaps modest, it's also true. You can't do these things alone. You need all those aforementioned traits, but you can't have a career like that without help. Without asking questions, constantly. Without creating your own opportunities. Without trying and without failing. Without working in teams. Without pushing. Without striving for excellence and truth.

Without focus.

There is a mountain of footage that didn't make it into that video. A lifetime really. Several lifetimes in fact. Terry Mosher, a long time pal, said many honourable and flattering things about Patrick. He also said, "He's a guy who enjoys the simple things in life. Good conversation. Meaningful moments."

Patrick said it best himself, in a piece for regarding his coverage of Elvis Presley's funeral, "This profession exposes us to a great deal of misery, but also to wonderful moments when the human spirit seems to triumph over everything that is mean and destructive in the world." To read the full column, Elvis Made Me What I Am, click here.

I have terrible eyesight. When I look out into the world without corrective lenses I don't see misery or wonder or triumph. I see colours, lights and darks, sometimes shapes. I am forced to do nothing. I cannot do one single thing because of a complete and pure absence of focus.

Today is the solstice.
The strawberries are ripe.
Summer has arrived.

We can only do one thing at a time.

So, like a berry, pick one...and focus on that.