The Power of Focus

June 2020

Rev. Eileen Patra

Rev. Eileen Patra, author The Mystical Ark, power of focus, Unity minister, focus on supply versus lack, retirement

Rev. Eileen Patra is a minister, speaker, and author, who blogs at and recently published her first novel, The Mystical Ark. She resides in Michigan.

By centering my attention on unlimited supply, my idea of retirement turned upside down

I had a recent profound shift in perception about lemons—or, more precisely, about my lemon.

I drive a 2013 Ford Focus I refer to as Forrest, as in “Run, Forrest! Run!” from Forrest Gump.

This car doesn’t run like other cars. It stutters, shimmies, and sometimes just plain stalls. And sometimes its faulty transmission causes it to move in reverse.

I discovered Forrest’s chronic transmission issue at about 20,000 miles. I had purchased this vehicle with two intentions in mind. My first intention was reliability.

The car was to replace my beloved PT Cruiser, which after 120,000 miles was beginning to show its age and was becoming increasingly unreliable. I had just taken on a new position with a long commute and wanted to avoid a breakdown on the way there or back.

My second intention—and the one that transformed my lemon into lemonade—was wanting a paid-off retirement car. I was about six years short of retirement age and wanted to own a car that had plenty of drivable miles left on it.

With 80,000 miles on Forrest, neither of my intentions was fulfilled, which left me angry, mistrustful, and frustrated. In addition to three transmission repairs, it was also subject to three major recalls. Moreover, I never knew when it might break down again.

Lemons Are Like a Box of Chocolates …

Through my frustration, I discovered a gift hidden within my lemon—the power of focus. In my spiritual practice and teaching, I remind myself that there is always a gift.

It may not yet be visible or it may be challenging to find, but there is always something of value in every trial and seemingly impossible circumstance.

What was the gift here? There were two.

First, I was reminded to focus on lemonade versus lemons. The car recently had its third transmission repair in less than six years, which qualified me for a cash settlement in a class action case. The agreement was determined by the court to be insufficient to satisfy consumer loss and inconvenience. The settlement is likely to be larger than anticipated!

However, the cash settlement is not the true gift.

In my spiritual practice and teaching, I remind myself that there is always a gift.

Retiring My Anxiety Over Retirement

The second and more powerful gift was the power of focus. As I was preparing to give a Sunday message recently, I was astounded to realize the power of my focus when I purchased the vehicle.

When I bought Forrest, I had the intention of it being my last car, because I would be unable to afford a car payment after retirement.

My focus was on lack! I saw my ability to work and serve in a particular way as the source of my supply, which, of course, wasn’t the truth. The absolute Truth is that God is my Source, and the supply is unlimited!

I have retired from full-time church ministry, but I have not retired from being an unlimited expression of the Divine. I am thriving in this new experience I call re-inspirement rather than retirement.

I am blessed in surprising ways as I focus my attention on turning life’s lemons into lemonade.

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