Stop, Notice, Pay Attention

04.02.2008

"You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle." ~ Paulo Coelho, Brazilian novelist

In the cartoon, Baby Blues, Mother lists tons of little things to remember – things like bring cupcakes, how her picky son wants his lunch made, and a doctor’s appointment to take one of the kids to. The incredulous Dad asks, "How do you keep all that information in your head, and still have room for all the other stuff?" Her answer, "What other stuff?"

A Life Half Lived

I see so many people living life from one routine thing to another and forgetting that there is more to life then errands, cleaning and work. When life gets overfilled, people stop paying attention to their surroundings, their feelings, their needs, and other people.

Conversations are half listened to. Driving is routine unless a close call brings you back to attention. As one task is being done, ten others tasks are in your mind. We can stay in our heads so much, that we forget to look at the outside world. And our world becomes boring or we start to feel numb.

Staying Numb

Sometimes people stay busy so they don’t have to pay attention. If they paid attention they might realize they are dissatisfied, hurt, or not living the life they want. They want to pretend and make believe everything is how they want it or at least that they are too busy to do anything about it.

It’s easier than changing. Changing habits. Changing jobs. Quitting things that make you feel prestigious but aren’t fulfilling. But, if we can wake up to our life we could live a fulfilling, passionate, purposeful life.

Noticing

How much of your day are you actually paying attention to what you are doing? To stay in the present more, one of my clients snaps a rubber band when her mind wanders to the past or future. I have a little note on my monitor reminding me that the time is now.

Paying attention doesn’t take much time. Try using little moments in your day to notice. Take a 10 second break to look out the window and observe what is outside. Take 5 minutes to really listen and connect with someone. Take a few seconds between projects and ask yourself how you are feeling and what you need.

Making Life Better

As you notice, if you discover things that need changing, make little changes. You notice you feel better with grapefruit and oatmeal than a donut for breakfast, eat less donuts. You notice something on the floor, quickly pick it up and put it away. You don’t have to make massive changes to make your life better.

In fact just noticing your life will make it better. Your life will feel more colorful as you take a close look at nature and your surroundings. Your relationships will be deeper as you listen more intently. Your work will go faster because you are focusing your full attention on it. And sometimes you will find that just looking at something will bring you joy.

Ideas for Paying Attention

  • Take a walk and engage in your surroundings
  • Hold someone’s hand and feel the texture and the temperature
  • Wash dishes by hand noticing the feel of the water and playing with the bubbles
  • Look at the stars at night
  • Listen to your thoughts as they ramble in your head
  • Go to a market and smell the produce in the air
  • Savor your food
  • Journal about something you noticed today

As author SARK says, "Live Juicy!"

7 Comments

  • Jen says:

    Oooooh… mindfulness is something that I really struggle with. Thanks for the great tips!

  • Beth is enlightened. She understands what it means to be vitally awake and alert to the exquisite beautiful life inside us. She is contributing to the cumulative effect that one simple life can have on the whole. Perhaps, this is our true service to humanity — affecting the Whole by simply being.

    There is nothing more constant than change. If we simply paid attention to all the subtle nuances and changes going on inside and around us, how could we ever become bored or restless?

    If we clear away unnecessary thoughts, desires and belief systems, a new reality appears. When we release and surrender our treasured opinions, perceptions and compulsive thinking, we begin to feel our body, taste our food, and see the beauty of the world with new perspective.

    If we could just be, without so much mind content, we would begin to trust and surrender. Our karma and destiny would be more willing to flow through us without the complexities of mind, desire and ego, confusing our existence.

    It takes a lot of energy to think. It serves us well for our survival, but it is a hindrance toward understanding our true spiritual nature.

    Be the silent witness. Walk with intention. Feel the right and then the left foot more consciously. Watch how you eat. Listen to music more intently. Be aware of your body and how it relates to others. Be intensely present. After all, this is where enlightenment begins.

    This is a step toward understanding the underlying Divine Presence that is Existence itself. Your identity no longer matters, and you realize that you are a part of All That Is. Life begins to live you, rather than you living life.

    I have a song on our new CD “Soul Affirmation” — Music for Better Outcomes, called “Simply Be.” The first lines are: “ I’m in this moment now, and this is all I have, I choose to be here now, aware of who I am.”

    Thank you Beth, for bringing your enlightened awareness to all your readers. I pray more people begin to understand who they really are, what it means to be alive, and to “Simply Be.”

    All Blessings, Ken LaDeroute http://www.affirmationpower.com

  • Debbie says:

    Why is it so hard to realize the obvious? I don’t know which post I liked the best, they all resonated within me! ThankQ Beth for your insight!

  • Beth says:

    You are welcome, Jen.

    Ken, thanks! That song sounds like it would be perfect.

    I am so glad my words are resonating with you. I really appreciate you saying that, Debbie.

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  • Avani says:

    So true Beth; we are so busy in our routine for a better tomorrow or running away from yesterday that we totally miss out on our today. Your post made me remember a poem I had read in my school days –

    Leisure – By W.H.Davies
    WHAT is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare?—
    No time to stand beneath the boughs,
    And stare as long as sheep and cows:

    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance:

    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began?

    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

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