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Simply Pay Attention

The act of paying attention is as simple as it is profound.  Last week I received a phone call from my sister, Priya, who has been away for a few months.  She is on the other end of the globe so I have not been able to talk with her as frequently as I would like.  She had found out that my left knee was bothering me and called to see how I was.  She spoke to me with such care and concern.  I am not usually one who seeks attention and perhaps my knee was the same, but my mind and heart felt deeply tended to.

Quite simply, receiving one’s own or another’s full attention is healing.  In a recent day long session with Leslie Kaminoff, he shared how his teacher, Desikachar, would say “when you pay attention, rejuvenation happens and the healing begins”.  What is attention but your energy (prana) being directed?  When, how and to what you pay attention to will affect you and those around you.  Paying attention without distraction is an act of love and care.  It requires deep listening and interest outside of our judgements and criticisms.  It’s no wonder that the practice of yoga transforms many, as its foundation is the practice of awareness.

As I write this, it makes me think about my girls and how often I give them my undivided attention.  I usually have the intention, but at times I find myself multi-tasking as I turn to their needs and inquiries.  However, I don’t want my girls feeling only partially seen or heard.  I don’t want them to feel only partially loved because of a desire to do many things at once.  I also don’t want to be the parent that dotes constantly on their child, but rather one who finds balance and the middle way.

Everything I do can become an act of love and connection, rather than one of distraction and distance.  From cooking food, to flossing my teeth, to feeling angry or being full of joy, I can choose to pay attention or I can choose to turn away.  The choice is mine.  It’s as simple as it is challenging, but a challenge that I am happy to take on.  Thank you for your attention.

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