The Beast, our new Great Pyrenees/Belgian Shepherd, turned five months old last week. He doubled in size in four short weeks, requiring the help of a pre-teen grandkid just to hoist his sorry carcass into the vet for his last parvo vaccine!
There’s nothing like a new puppy to help you pay attention. Take your eyes off the little buggar for a second and the curtain is shredded. Or there’s a puddle of pee demanding yet another round with the Resolve. The cat suffers from PTSD and the hose you left out mysteriously sprouts a new hole. Well, not mysteriously. Meet Lewis, our newest reminder of what it costs to NOT pay attention.
We miss so much when we don’t:
- The fleeting look of tenderness in the eye of someone who lets down their guard for just long enough for us to see the fear behind the front they prefer to wear
- The nudge to send that email or text to the person needing an atta boy/girl
A high-pitched shriek of childish delight easily arrests our attention, but the more subtle moments, the mundane, the nuanced… it’s easy to forget those are just as pregnant with life if we pay attention.
- Laundry reminds us of work accomplished or an event attended. Yet was I fully invested, wholly engaged, entirely present?
- Dishes indicate a satisfying meal. But did I bother to take in the aromas, the textures, and can I remember with whom my meal was shared, or our conversation?
- Fueling the car or balancing the checkbook, the privileges of enough. Was I aware that I was shopping on purpose, though, rather than simply self-medicating?
Life is made of routine, non-descript moments. Thanks to help from uber-efficient brains, we learn to function without thinking at all about how to open the front door or climb stairs. Heuristics someone smart called it. Shortcuts. Imagine if you had to methodically tell yourself to execute every move required for tying a shoe–there was a day, remember?! But now you can do it all without paying attention. Alas, the tradeoff is that over time auto-pilot becomes our default.
Think about your yard, your car’s interior, your office desk…Things left entirely to themselves generally speaking, end in at least mild disarray–which is charming in an English garden, but not in dog training.
Ergo, here’s a “Mindful Monday” post, a gentle poke reminding you and me to exercise our attention muscles.
Mindfulness, awareness, paying attention:
- Is a step in developing our capacity for gratitude.
- Helps us nurture and steward well the life we are given.
- Serves us in recognizing where we get in our own way of receiving love and being more loving–something neither of these pests pets have any trouble with.
Sure, it takes a little time, a different kind of energy, but it keeps stuff from soiling the carpet…if you get my drift.