February 15, 2013

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“Pay Attention!” How many times have we heard that? We’ve heard it from our parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and spouses. “Pay attention!” has been screamed at us from passing cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We have each uttered, said, or screamed those words countless times to our children and them to us. Just reading the words, “pay attention!” is stressful, unless “pay attention” is in the context of mindfulness.

Even those unfamiliar with the art and benefits of mindfulness can choose to make mindful decisions each day. Sitting in traffic, we can choose to pay attention to our companion in the car or the music on the radio, instead of the frustrating congestion. While in a class or a meeting, we can choose to focus on what is being shared instead of letting our thoughts wander to our next obligation or where we are having lunch that day. When a stranger holds a door or provides a service, we can choose to look him/her in the eye and genuinely express gratitude to him/her versus muffling a quick obligatory “thanks.” We can choose to eat dessert slowly and enjoy every bite rather than consuming it as quickly as possible in an attempt to “eat the guilt” along with the treat.

We all zone out sometimes – some of us more than others. Countless times I’ve arrived at a destination with little idea of how I got there or where I parked. I’ve looked right past and not seen someone I know as I rushed around town with a dozen thoughts monopolizing my head. I’ve eaten a handful of chocolate chips and not truly tasted a single one. If I’m going to eat my yummy chocolate, I should at least pay attention to it and enjoy!

While the concept of mindfulness can be overwhelming, it can easily be practiced at any given moment by just reminding ourselves to “pay attention.” The present is where life unfolds and it deserves ALL of you!

Live well/Be well.

 

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