Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Resolution & Revolution: Attention

Credit: Nasa

Resolution: A firm decision to do or not do something.
Revolution: 1.) Completion also: the period made by the regular succession of a measure of time. 2.) Radical or complete change.

It is hard to believe nearly another month has whizzed by. In July, I discussed finances, specifically saving money and eliminating debt. For more on my self-improvement journey, please click here. I can't claim that I've completely succeeded in either one of those departments, but I've been more mindful about spending, saving and my attitude toward money in general, so in a way that is a success because I'm journeying toward the goal. But this one in particular trends toward being a lengthily process, unless of course my financial situation changes, which is something else I am working on.

Part I
This month I've been focusing alot lately on my attention, where I place my point of focus in my mind, body and elsewhere and on whom. It is interesting to me now especially, as we transition from end of summer, oh how desperately I want to cling onto you dear sunshine, and the beginning of school and the change of season.

In my yoga practice with Elena Brower, who is a wizard, she's been discussing equality consciousness. Yes, it sounds like a lot of wordage, but it's simple: noting (consciousness) where you place your attention in your body and then distributing that energy/focus/attention equally in your body.

For instance, I'm one of those people who's commonly in her head, thinking, thinking about thinking and then thinking some more, you know what I mean if you do it, and Elena suggests dispersing the thought that would otherwise be attending all that thinking throughout the body. So if you're in a yoga pose, I'll pick downward dog because many people are familiar with that one and if not have a look:

Source: google.com via Laura on Pinterest
The idea is to bring attention in equal amounts to all parts of the body from paws to tail, top to bottom, inside and out and the effect is something like warm water rinsing from the crown down through out the body. It's magnificently liberating. In this way I take the focus off of (often redundant) thought and elsewhere, attention goes to my scalp, you are tense, relax, we're doingyoga. Are my toes rooted? Oh toes, there you are, you sweet little stabilizers! And so on. But it is less thought (therefore hard to describe) and more action, it is most effective because you feel it in the body. Another way to say this is to, "Pour your mind into your heart."

Part II

By practicing equality consciousness in the body I've been experimenting with bringing that to my life beyond just the physical, specifically in these ways:
  • When I'm spending time with my kids: No devices. Eyes on them.
  • When I'm spending time with my hubs: Ditto
  • When we begin to get ready for the school day: no distractions (I'm prone to a spontaneous game of Uno before school.) Stick to getting ready and if there is time for fun and games then I can enjoy comfortably knowing we are ready to go.
  • The beginning of the school year is a tremendous transition for everyone, be patient when the kids get home from school, they may be tired, stressed and adjusting to a new routine, friends, etc.
  • As I adjust to days spent with out my family be patient with myself, recognize signs of stress and anxiety and tend to myself in a nurturing and loving way.
Part III

The last part of my attention that I want to focus on is less specific, more abstract and extremely valuable, it has to do with how my kids see me. Do they see a mother who respects herself and considers herself worthy? Do they see a mother who gives to them, in the form of my attention and in turn receives theirs? For example, if I ask them a question, do I carefully listen to the response? Do they see a mother who, although she may make mistakes, learns from them in a skillful and responsible way? Do they see a mother who knows how and when to use her voice? Do they see a mother who is courageous and strong?

None of this is to say I have to be the "perfect superwoman." In fact I'd love to dispel that myth, by virtue of being a loving mother alone, we are superwomen. Taking care of ourselves- and thereby our families, holding ourselves accountable for our words and actions- thereby setting a sound example and living with integrity- thereby being happy with who we are and happy in general, are the places I want to focus my attention. It seems, at least for now, that by doing so my children will see a mother who is also a role model and in this way, they will gain the tools for womanhood.

All that being said, I love Joseph Pilates' idea of "Practice, Persistence and Patience" none of this will happen instantly, it is a process and by practicing equality consciousness, being diligent and having patience with myself I am resolved to revolutionize this aspect of my life.

I'd love to know more of what you have to say about attention, strategies, triumphs and your process- I invite you to comment below.  


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