Daily Thoughts,  Mindfulness

Paying Attention

Overheard in a coffee shop:

“Custard?! C’mon, nobody is passionate about custard!!”

This actually brings up a good point. No, not about custard. (and frankly, I bet there are people out there that have fairly strong feelings about custard. Especially Flan, which is latin custard. Oh boy are there Puerto Ricans out there passionate about their flan. Anyways, I digress….)

So, the good point. I don’t know about you, but I have a very strong tendency to close my walls up, in various ways. Either by hermitting at home (which is easy enough to do, since I work from home), or falling into my notebooks, or putting my headphones on and listening to music, or falling into the phone void. There are any variety of ways one can close off their walls unwittingly. And that seems to be a big problem in this society. Especially with the phone, and the headphone. Movies have been made about this, allegorical movies comparing phone addicted youth to zombies. Editorial cartoonists have a field day with the subject. Sociologists write long treatises on the subject.

So as I sit here with my headphones stubbornly kept down around my neck, listening to this jovial and extremely loud conversation in the table next to me that I really can’t ignore, should be annoyed about, and kind of wish I could participate in considering that it’s just gone from a long talk on the Harry Potter movies vs. the books, to their love of used book stores and how there are no good ones in Charlotte (versus some amazing book stores in Asheville), etc, I can’t help but think about how I sat down having no idea of what to write about, and 5 minutes into paying attention to the world around me, my wheels are whirring furiously.

It doesn’t take much. We have this idea that technology-phone games, the internet, etc-are numbing us, deadening our creative neurons and angering our muses to exhaustion. And we think, or at least I think, that it would take forever to move past the fog that sitting the internet/game void brings on to find the new ideas and such. But it doesn’t. It doesn’t take much. It just takes really paying attention, for just half a minute. Your brain, your spirit, your muse, are all just sitting there aching for a little sensory stimulation, for a play date. So at the first chance of it, they all jump to attention. You just have to give them that chance.

A puppy just walked up. Bruno. Fuzzy it’s baby fur, only 11 weeks old, and bigger than my grown corgi, almost as tall as my 50 pound beagle mix. This dog is going to be huge. And right now, it’s fuzzy with excitement. The pup and it’s person walked up and the whole patio stopped what they’re doing and paid attention, gave it love, and inevitably we all start talking to each other about it and our own pups. About how this pupper apparently jumps in the air and pirouettes when it meets another dog. How the world would be so much better if we all showed that much shameless joy at meeting each other.

This. This is why it’s worth putting your phone down, getting past the social awkwardness, and paying attention. So many people out there are so lonely, because we think connecting takes so much effort. But it doesn’t. We all have so much more in common, including our need to connect, than we think.

And yes, I might be lecturing myself again.

Cheers, everyone.

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