Rhythms | Presence + Distraction

"I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.  I am going to look around at all the flowers and look up at the hectic trees.  I am going to close my eyes and listen."

- Anne Lamott

Maybe you’ve seen this video before, but it's relatively new to me:



Did you see it?!  I won’t say what just in case you’re skipping ahead without watching the video, and I highly suggest you take 80 seconds to watch the video above about selective attention and see if you can pass the test.


And sure, once you see it and watch the video again, you know what to look for.  But I can’t help think about how many times in my life I have completely missed something that isn’t going to walk by again.  What else is going on to distract me, to divert my attention, to entertain or simply to invite me to check out?


Granted, there are numerous days when we just might want to distract ourselves from the reality of life.  It will certainly cost us quite a lot if we focus our time and energy on big and small-scale challenges and struggles.  But I believe it will cost us even more if we don’t do that.  


If you want to develop a rhythm of presence and attentiveness in your life, maybe try one of these:


-       For one week, create a daily list of all of the things that distract you.  And then decide which one you are going to eliminate.

-       Schedule specific times when you put away any and all screens.  See what happens.

-       Take a short break in the day to notice the following around you:

         5 things you see

         4 things you hear

         3 things you touch

         2 things you smell

         1 thing you taste

-       Go outside once a day without any specific reason, and see what you notice.


With you and for you,


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These resources offer guidance on talking with children and youth when scary things happen. This fact sheet includes information on checking in with yourself, clarifying your goal, providing information, reflecting, asking helpful questions, going slow, labeling emotions, validating, and reducing media exposure. 


Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT#86504)

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