Your attention itself is essentially your greatest resource. As I see it, managing your attention well is a key to fulfillment and to developing the resilience we all need in these times. Lyedie
It is mid-January. The frenzy of resolution-making is settling down, and I find this to be a good time to hunker down into the basics so as to set a solid trajectory for the year. So please bear with me, and consider your attention itself as a resource — I'm defining attention here as being the flow of the most essential energy particles that you direct (consciously and/or unconsciously) as you move through life. Within this definition, thoughts and feelings are forms of attention.
Here are a few questions to help you explore and assess how resourcefully you are working with the essential currency of your own attention.
1. Locating your attention: Where has your attention been in the last hour? Has it been out the window, on your best friend in high school or, deep in the project you've been working on? Has it been in the past (remembering), the present (now), or in the future (planning)? Have you been directing it, or has it been commandeered somehow?
Here is a surprisingly beneficial little practice: Stop yourself a few times a day and just notice where your attention is located. Setting a timer on your smartphone to prompt yourself to take note of this will gently help you awaken to your attention. After all, where your attention is is where you are. Choosing to notice, in and of itself, is an act of taking control and directing your attention.
2. Then there is the quality of your attention: What is the quality of attention you are giving to this moment? Is it focused and penetrating, or is it diffuse and receptive? As you consider these words is your brow slightly furrowed as you engage your focused attention in an effort to understand, or is your brow soft indicating that your quality of attention may be more receptive? What kind of attention you give to what, and when, can make a big difference in the quality of your experience and the quality of what you produce.
3. And how do you decide? How aware are you of your default priorities? Do you tend to put attention on making progress or tending to things? Do you approach challenges by springing in to action, seeking perspective, fostering others, or nourishing yourself? Which of these areas do you privilege in your approach to life?
Getting back to the basics of working with our attention and energy provides foundational support to working effectively with the balance of work - rest - play - collapse that is critical to developing resilience. This can allow for making good contact with the ache of our longings, and then to getting around to fulfilling them. As the prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, so aptly revealed to to me many years ago, “My favorite class is still Ballet I.”
I hope you have found this helpful in some way. If you are looking to make a shift in your approach to life — to developing your resilience and to getting on to fulfilling those longings, click here to learn more about working with me. Or go ahead and just schedule a discovery session with me.
Great questions spring from the mouths of babes. . .
One afternoon, way back when I was a young mother, I was busy putting groceries away and thinking about making dinner when my 7 year old daughter, Sara, burst into the kitchen with a burning question, “Hey Mom! What I want to know is, how come God doesn’t talk to me the way he talked to Noah?” I knew it was a burning question because of her wide stance and the way she had her hands on her hips. I found out later that her teacher had just read Noah's Ark to the class in school that day.
My first response was internal, ‘Damn, he never talks to me the way he talked to Noah, either!’ Then I managed to slow down and stop bustling around in the kitchen. We had a talk about the Bible's booming voice of God and I started to articulate for her, and for myself, the many ways that God "speaks" to us. Sara’s question has reverberated in my life for years. I’m so grateful that she asked it and that I stopped long enough to listen. For the life of me I can’t remember what I cooked for dinner that night.
Initially, Sara’s question roused me to examine the masculine voice of God that so often prevails my western Judeo-Christian lineage. Her question was what prodded me into discovering the feminine face of God. It led me to wondering, ‘How is it that we just Know? What senses inform me? How accurate is my interpretation of what I intuit? How can I tell? How could I have missed that? From where do I feel enough certainty to act?’ Since that day you could say I’ve been on a quest to “listen” (active mode) and to “hear” (receptive mode) more, better.
Eventually it led me to my interest in leadership. In graduate school and subsequent trainings I specialized in the nature of creativity, innovation and emergence and the multifaceted aspects of what constitutes authority. Now the focus has evolved into seeing how Noah’s brilliant response to massive flooding is a story about a leader who innovated because he had a glimpse of the highest future and he managed to act on it. All of this lofty business translates directly into practical application in my daily coaching and facilitation practice. Yes! Now almost thirty years later, I can trace all that back to my little girl’s great question. And I'm still, always, honing my listening skills.
Great questions. They show up in our lives in the darnedest places, when we least expect them. The trick is to recognize them and to open to letting them reverberate and inform us.Tracing the reverberation can reveal the narrative of your life and give you a strong glimpse of what is calling you forward.
What is calling you forward?
What might you need to let go of to move toward that calling?
What action will it require?
What joy will it bring?
When questions like these start to burn in you, contact me. I can help you cross into the next chapter of your adventure.