Book Review: Living into Focus
Author: Arthur Boers
Publisher: Brazos Press ISBN: 9781587433146
This was a very interesting book to me for many reasons. The first reason for my interest was the title grabbed my attention. In recent years as I have tried to simplify my life and give more attention to my present surroundings, living more intently in the present moment as it were, I have become more aware of how many distractions compete for my attention. The world continues to accelerate and isolate, distract, and distance us from giving our attention to the people and things that genuinely make life worth living. The title made me curious. I was further intrigued by a number of the endorsements for Living into Focus especially considering that one of those endorsements was made by Eugene Peterson, of whom I am a great admirer, and who wrote the foreward. Another reason for my interest was my preparation for leading a spiritual retreat focused on simplicity and spiritual rhythm; I thought the content of this book might provide me with additional information and insight for my presentation.
I am delighted to report that this book not only met my expectations, but also exceeded them in a number of ways. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style of Arthur Boers. This is the first book I have read from his pen and I found this particular book almost akin to a form of literary onomatopoeia. Let me explain. Onomatopoeias are words that are spelled like they sound or vice versa… like “oink,” “pow!” “tic-toc,” I think you get the point. Boers’ Living into Focus is about “slowing down” and living intently into the present moment. What I realized about a third to half-way through the book is that I was slowing down as I read it. I felt as though I were being led to a place of inner quiet and calm almost as if I were a cobra under the spell of an expert snake charmer. The cadence of the book and the easy manner of Boers’ story telling was a meandering experience. He talked often about walking and I soon felt as though I were listening to him share his experiences as I walked along with him. It was an unusual writing style to what I normally read, but in a delightful way. I don’t know if it was the nature of the subject matter or my state of mind, but the sum of many variables made for an almost magical read.
The book is sectioned into three primary movements: Part One, Focus Matters, discusses the importance of focus; Part Two, Losing Our Focus, details the contemporary challenges to maintaining focus, and Part Three, Finding our Focus, brings to point exercises and intentional actions to regaining focus on the things that truly give purpose to our life.
I have said that I was especially charmed by the tempo and style of this book. The sum of the whole was a very peaceful and restful read…and very insightful. I originally set out to use the information gleaned for material used in my presentation during a spiritual retreat; I found material and much inspiration in Living into Focus that was featured prominently over the retreat weekend.
I think Arthur Boers has presented weary travelers a wonderful respite in his Living into Focus. I would recommend it very highly.