Paying attention

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A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 14

This week’s mindfulness practice asks us to explore and deepen our senses. In our crazy, media-driven society we are bombarded with messages. Our senses are overloaded – this is the norm. Is it any wonder we MISS so much basic stuff in our daily lives?

How often does a friend say, “did you see that?” and you missed the thing entirely? Have you ever had a loved one tell you something, but you didn’t hear a word they said? Do you take the time to walk barefoot in the summer and feel the soft warm grass beneath your feet? Do you breathe deeply and take in all the smells in the air? When eating, do you chew slowly and really taste your food?

Our main senses are sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Take time this week to be fully alive in all of your senses. Be completely present in all they have to offer.

When I focus on or concentrate on something, I am often lost to the rest of the world. Disasters could be happening all around me and I don’t notice because I’m in my own head. People sometimes think that I’m purposefully not paying attention or that I’m not ignoring what they’re saying. What they don’t realize is that I really didn’t hear it at all. People can’t believe that I can’t remember a conversation—”You were standing right there!” Yes, but was I engaging with you, or was I just in the room? Obviously, this singularity of purpose has its positives and negatives. I do forget to slow down and be aware: of what I am seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting, of how I’m breathing. This coming week I will remind myself to stop and pay attention to my senses at least once a day. Hey, it’s a start.

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