Monday, December 29, 2014

the art of attention

i experience a lot of resistance.  it's that complex but often oversimplified phenomena that looks something like this: i want/need to ______; but i'm going to do everything else that is possible to do on this good green earth of ours and in this good green head of mine to avoid ______.  resistance pops up for me on a pretty regular basis.  i have resistance to doing my work.  i have resistance to exercising and eating nourishing food.  i have resistance to personal accounting and records-keeping. i have resistance to housekeeping.  sometimes i have resistance to taking a shower.

i even experience resistance with activities i love:  yoga, creating, writing, walking with my dogs, cooking, gardening, spending time with friends.  some days it feels like i am resistant to life.  

i have done a good deal of work in the past year becoming more aware of when i am experiencing resistance.  more work is needed to increase my understanding and to start breaking through it in meaningful ways.  this year my friend and master yoga teacher cyndi lee will be helping me address my resistance to yoga through discussions that we will publish in a collaborative series of blog posts.  

i wanted my word for 2015 to reflect my movement through resistance, to be a little anchor for me during this year. what is the opposite of resistance?  how would the antidote to resistance be described in one word?  i went through discipline (too rigid), practice (all i could hear was my mom nagging me to sit down at the piano and do my scales), action (made me want to take a nap), focus (feels like a work word), many renditions of "go with the flow" like fluidity, water, river (these began feeling way too loose than what i'm looking for).  by the way, if you are interested in a peek into my own special brand of resistance, the one i employ hundreds of time throughout the day, reread this paragraph.  it just happens to be overthinking.

sunday at 2:30am, i lay awake with an unusual touch of insomnia.  i wanted to read but didn't want to turn the light on and really didn't want to leave the warm bed.  so i grabbed my kindle. you guys, i even have resistance to my kindle.  good books that are stored on there have been neglected.  i've since abandoned my trial period of electronic reading and returned to the paper book, but i admit that it comes in handy at times like this.  

i turned on my device and navigated my way to the last bookmark i placed back in april:  chapter sixteen of karen maezen miller's hand wash cold.  chapter sixteen is about consistently showing up every day to do the work of our lives, attending to the details and maintenance of our ordinary lives.  

it is about attention.

hello word.

hello 2015.

"attention is the most concrete expression of love.
what we pay attention to thrives.
what we do not pay attention to withers and dies.
what will you pay attention to today?"
-karen maezen miller, hand wash cold: care instructions for an ordinary life