I arranged my day so that I could watch Oprah on Facebook Live during my lunch. Never mind that I had two press releases, a byline and a media plan on all burners; its been too long since I had my Oprah time!
After getting my fix – she’s a great mimic, isn’t she? – I went back to work on a press release that frankly was putting me to sleep. But then I had an aha moment. I realized it was putting me to sleep because I wasn’t paying attention to it. Rather, I was paying to attention to my thoughts about how boring it was, how no reporter would care, blah blah blah.
And its not just press releases that inspire this distraction; I do this when I’m writing or editing my books, playing with my kid or making out with my husband. Rather than paying attention to what is literally right in front of me, I’m paying attention to the thoughts that the writing sucks, I don’t have time to play and I’ve been making out with my husband since we were kids in college.
Karen Maezen Miller wrote, “Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What you pay attention to thrives. What you do not pay attention to withers and dies.”
If you ever attend one of her retreats, she likes to have us hold out our hands in front of us and wiggle our fingers. The first time I did this I wondered if this is what Buddhists did instead of standing up, kneeling down, sitting and then doing it all over again during mass. But it’s just a Karen thing and a very wise thing since I’ve now attended two of her retreats and even dragged my bestie along.
Wiggling my fingers before my face is a reminder to pay attention to what is, rather than what should or what could or what might happen.
As I wonder how to end this, all I can think of is to thank my teachers, Oprah and Karen and even the boring press release because all of these encounters woke me up to the necessity of attention.