Embodying Attention

Image taken 2017 by Gaye Abbott, Wolf Creek in Grass Valley, CA

Take a few moments to pay attention to this image from the deck where I lived in Grass Valley, California just a couple of years ago. Take in not only what is present, but also how it makes you feel.  Look closely and notice what you are feeling in your body sensations, your breath, your thoughts. What stories emerge?

This was taken in the October morning light.  A time when the shadows captured more than what is directly in the lens of my iPhone.  I am by no means a “photographer” like some of my dear friends.  But what I do practice is embodied attention.

Attention to what is right in front of me, around and behind, above and below.  Attending to how whatever I am attending to affects my breathing and the bodily sensations that go along with that.

Do I make up a story? Do I fall into wonder, curiosity and awe? Is a sense of curiosity evoked? Is there a tendency to deflect whatever it is that is taking my attention? What emotions am I feeling?

This is in complete opposition to “distracted attention” that has so many people either multi-attending, or scattering and jumping their attention from one thing to the next as the stimulus of our world, the news, our phones, email and social media hold us captive.

In other words missing our own lives.

Are we truly paying attention to the details of the simple experiences in life? The masterpieces that unfold right before our eyes from moment to moment.

That bring peace of mind and open our hearts to the beauty and miracles that unfold day after day after day.  That connect us with others, the natural world and the very essence of our life as deeply as we yearn for.

What you might not see in the image above is another component that is somewhat hidden in the shadows, but is none the less a simple part of the natural world.

Coming home from a few days away last month I almost missed it as well, until I came into the wide angle lens of embodied attention and found the nest.  A nest built with passion and ingenuity in a season that was rather out of sync with traditional nest building times.

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Yes, I am extremely fortunate to live in a space where I simply go out onto my deck to worship amidst 100’s of trees and relish the sound of the flowing creek below.

Yet, aren’t there 100’s, perhaps even 1000’s, of moments each day when we can remind ourselves to embody (take in with all of our senses) – versus em-mind – what is placed before us no matter where we live or what is happening.

Might “time” slow down a little and afford us the luxury of timelessness….even for just a few moments.

Sometimes it may be painful to open that much in our attention.  But what may come of openly experiencing our lives versus fragmenting attention in a way that evokes stress, tension and anxiety because we are not taking in the whole of our experience in the present moment.

An opportunity to live our lives with open, embodied and engaged attention.  To pay attention with our whole being to what has meaning for us.  It is our choice!

…..to fall on our knees in gratitude for this breath and the next.


All Rights Reserved by Gaye Abbott. Copyright 2017  http://GayeAbbott.com

If you wish to share this post please link to the Wildly Free Elder website. Thank You!

This post has been reprinted from the blog Life At Wolf Creek


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