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  • Tom

Focus and Release

Photo by Clay Banks

The premise of focus and release, as I understand it, is fundamental to meditation and mindfulness. We spend so much of our day filtering out the extraneous noise and signal in order to get what we need to done in an efficient way. We'd simply never be able to make that cup of coffee if every step towards the kettle was combined with taking in all the information from the kitchen in minute detail. ( I do need to fix that drawer...)

This sort of focus is important and necessary but must also be balanced with a broader perspective that stops to take in from our surroundings new information. Information that might be needed to sustain the order we've created for ourselves or realise its unsustainable. If we never took into account the bigger picture of how many beans we had left we'd also never be able to make that cup of coffee.

At Overhear we've been focusing heavily on writing applications for awards and grants. Packing what we want Overhear to be into a set amount of words or with a particular flavour to meet a particular brief. This takes a lot of mental energy but there is a short term payoff in that it structures the whole concept into something that makes you see it differently and how it could work in particular contexts even if we don't get the award in the long run.

Photo by Jonathan Kington

Our current bid-writing success however has been limited. Strange times shift the priories of those awarding the grants and it can be hard to decode what exactly they're looking for or, as with the recent Common Wealth Games call outs, we were pipped to the post by points in a certain criteria by another organisation.

I'm super proud of how hard we've worked on these applications, and being acknowledged by being put through to the second stage for the Common Wealth Games bid was really confidence boosting. Yet getting that "unfortunately" in an email you've been expecting can be deflating.

However with that disappointment comes a sense of release. Letting go of that focus you've been maintaining through the application process is a moment that you should allow to wash over you and take hold of you. It's a moment of transition from one state to another and within those transition moments new ideas can arrive from left field.

To suddenly start taking to google and trying to find the next bid, the next partner and shoehorn the same idea back into something else is to maintain that focus and energy that maybe needs to be relinquished for a time to allow for new ideas and perspectives to come to the fore.

When we continue to focus we are expecting an answer to come from something or somewhere that, if we only keep looking hard enough will be there. But a release and a letting go acknowledges an answer is most likely to come from outside of yourself. From somewhere you never thought to look with your focused head on.

Photo by @tom_white

This is at the heart of what we want Overhear to be as an app; we want it to take you to a space that you possibly weren't even looking for and hear something you didn't expect to hear. To release your expectations about where you are and be open to other ideas, another perspective, to just be still and let it wash over you.

If this resonates with you, get in touch with us, we're open to new avenues and ways of working. Seeing where your energy combined with ours can take us and how it could benefit us both.

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