Slowing Down and Paying Attention

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It’s Tuesday and I hope you’re feeling like you’ve gotten into a good groove for your week. If I’m honest, I’m still getting there. No excuses, I’m starting over with the habits I know are best for me in this season, but I am feeling a little beside myself or outside of myself. Recently, I listened to On Being’s Krista Tippet interview Ellen Langer on The Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness

From the twenty minutes or so that I listened to the podcast, what I heard Ellen Langer say was that mindfulness is simply paying attention to one’s surroundings and noticing what’s new. She said this can have a positive effect on relationships if you look for two or three things you haven’t noticed before (or for a while); rather than assuming you know everything about someone because they have grown so familiar to you. Maybe you just need to look a little closer?

When I homeschooled my kids, I followed the Charlotte Mason Method. One of her principles was to train children in “the habit of attention“. Isn’t that a worthwhile and wise goal? Habits, when formed young, can stay with one for a lifetime. To form a habit of paying attention and to have that be part of a child’s education is a brilliant idea.

It’s so true how much we can cruise around our lives, doing the dailies and forgetting to notice the amazing, the miraculous, the wonderful all around us and indeed, that we are wonderfully put together. If you are a gratitude journal person, this is one way the world can come alive again and you can begin to look at things with new eyes, with childlike wonder.

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What happens when you stand in a field, take a walk in the woods or down the road, or simply go out your back door and watch the trees, rooted and flexible, as they bend and sing to the wind’s song? Don’t you sense a peace and lightness as the day’s worries slip away and you begin to recall your connectedness to the beauty strength of the world you live in? And you slow down, breathe in the scent of pine, cut grass, fallen leaves, snow and you are renewed?

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Take a few minutes today to step outside or walk or hike. Slow down and really see your backyard or the field across the street. And inside, what beauty is in a corner, on the table, or windowsill that you might have missed? What about your family?

I noticed how how adorable my teenaged daughter looked with her hair half up and little curls framing her face. And again this morning, before I drove her to school, I thought how pretty she looked with her hair in a bun, how long her lashes are. I noticed my son’s attractive face as he drove past me on his way to school. I noticed the kindness around Alan’s eyes and the happiness that radiates from his face when he’s being silly.

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Alan with fresh local turmeric.

And I looked around my kitchen tonight and snapped some photos of things that brought me joy.

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Roasted apples and butternut squash.
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Tiny Bell peppers from our garden.
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Tulips, a locally-made beeswax candle and a lovely colorful salad.

Do you have a habit of attention or do you need help paying attention to your actual life? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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