My youngest daughter loves going to school. For a few days, however, she came home rather quiet and mellow. When probing into it, she told me that her teacher had placed a boy next to her that kept teasing her. We talked about it and I took my time listening to her, offering my support and sharing a few thoughts of how she could respond to the teasing.
After a while she started to relax and looked much happier. The next day she came home in high spirits. When asking her about the boy she told me that her teacher had placed him to the back of the room. Situation handled. Other than giving it a little bit of attention, we hadn’t done a thing.
That’s the power of your attention. If you use it with intention and awareness it can help you to navigate through life with ease and pleasure. It allows you to pick and choose experiences that you enjoy. If you focus on ease, that’s what you get. If you pay attention to trouble, guess what shows up?
In his fabulous book Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, Winifred Gallagher writes “Far more than you may realize, your experience, your world, and even your self are the creations of what you focus on. From distressing sights to soothing sounds … the targets of your attention are the building blocks of your life. … Like other forms of energy, this mental sort is used most effectively by those who understand how it works.”
How does it work? Just as you can read people’s aliveness, you are able to read the impact of your surroundings. Most likely you are doing this already. Do you notice whether a place is soothing or irritating? Do you avoid certain tables at a restaurant? You may be unaware of the fact, but you are picking up on clues in your environment all the time. By reading the energy around you and by responding to it in a sensitive fashion, you can pick and choose the amount of ease and flow you want to have in your life. It’s the difference between stepping into a puddle, and keeping your feet dry.
Use your attention consciously today. Pick a route that is beautiful rather than convenient when driving to an appointment. Turn off Facebook and twitter when the noise starts to drain you. Be sensitive to the people around you. What impact do they have on you? Be aware of your body and the cues you receive in different situations. Listen and respond with sensitive action. Take a break when you get tired, move your body when you get anxious and intentionally choose what’s best for you at any given moment. This will help you to avoid the hurdles, add more ease to your life and make every day a lot more fun.
To your charmed life.
Photo Source: Tachel T. Ribas via Flickr under a Creative Commons License