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Change Your Focus, Change Your Life

A professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise exam. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin. The professor handed out the exam with the text face down as he usually did. Once all the exams were handed out, he asked his students to turn the exam over.

To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions-just a single black dot in the middle of the otherwise blank piece of paper. The teacher seeing the expressions on his student’s faces told them the following:

“I want you to write about what you see there on your exam sheet.” The students, confused, got stated on the inexplicable task.

At the end of the allotted time, the professor collected the exams, and began reading each one of them aloud to the entire class. All of them, without exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to speak:

“I am not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the blank part, the white paper. Everyone focused on the black dot. A very similar thing happens routinely in our lives. We have an entire piece of paper to enjoy, the canvas on which we paint our lives. But it is all too easy to focus on the small imperfections; the Black Dots.

“Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we are given at all times many things to celebrate and enjoy: nature renewing itself in front of our very eyes, our friends and family around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see every day and so much more. However, we can miss those blessings if we only focus on the Black Dots: a health issue that bothers us, the relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend, the grudge from a past hurt or loss, etc. The Black Dots are very small when compared to everything else we can notice and focus on in our lives, but they’re the ones that pollute out minds, harden our hearts, and pierce our souls all with the same effect…. enduring pain and anguish.

“Take your eyes away from the Black Dots in your life. Enjoy each and every one of your blessings; each moment that life gives you. Rejoice and live a life filled with LOVE!”


As a mental health professional I have noticed the preponderance of three reasons underlining why individuals seek professional healers into their lives:

  1. If only on a subjective level, they feel they are not functioning up to their abilities;

  2. There are symptoms that have been in their lives for a while, but now they have become so disruptive and unmanageable they finally know they need assistance with moving past them; or,

  3. There are consistent patterns that do not abate and they are confused as to why.

Since everything can boil down to relationships, it does not take long to notice that whatever brought them into therapy, it’s always associated with the Black Dots in my client’s lives. The pain, anguish, disappointment, anger, and resentments of long standing begin to be the total focus of their consciousness or attempts to deny and avoid their existence of them. There are great costs to this restriction of focus to the Black Dots: the lack of joy, creativity, energy, and positive outlook on life to name only a few.

I have also noticed certain behaviors become almost nonexistent in my client’s lives. Only humans engage in these three practices, and when they do not engage in them, pain in all its forms persists and intensifies. It is through the engagement of these behaviors interwoven into our daily lives that healing, growing, learning, changing, and evolving can take place. These are the practices of

  • Gratitude,

  • Compassion, and

  • Forgiveness.

These practices give us hope, faith, and trust - in ourselves, in others, and in our world.

These practices help us to constantly stay in touch not only with the goodness in the world, but also create a positive energy that promotes openness, warmth, and safety among people.

These practices minimize the existence of mental health issues along with physiologically induced stress symptoms.

If you want to understand the impact of Compassion, Gratitude, and Forgiveness, and learn how to incorporate these behaviors into your daily lives, I invite you to contact any of us at

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