paying attention

buddha.jpg
Buddha, San Francisco, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

Whatever we pay attention to thrives.

I had the pleasure of seeing Momma Zen at a reading in south San Francisco this weekend. The talk was called the Zen of Parenting, and that one idea is what stuck: “Attention is the most concrete expression of love. What you pay attention to thrives. What you do not pay attention to withers and dies.”

That’s pretty much all we need to know, right? Karen?

What I’m paying attention to these days:
– Ben, who is truly the apple of my eye.
– My body, I’ve been sugar and dairy free for two weeks! (a little experiment)
– My marriage, to the awesomely creative, hilarious and whip smart Matt Passmore.
– The online class that Jen Lemen and I are creating (we will announce in a few weeks!)

Yep. I think it’s true.

What are you paying attention to?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

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As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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35 Comments

  1. Zoe

    I was just thinking about this recently. My babies are thriving because I pay a lot of attention to them, and my marriage is scooting along with a lot of patience and humor (we are so so tired). Housekeeping? No attention to that and it’s going to heck in a handbasket. But the house, if left uncleaned, will not develop emotional issues or starve. My family life needs to be fed. Next up for attention? My spiritual life.

  2. Mariella

    such a great reminder!!! Thank you. ~ M.

  3. Moose

    I gave up sugar a week ago! Thanks to all the amazing peaches in season now, I haven’t even missed it.
    Paying attention to: Loving things rather than obsessing over them. This will take some practice. 🙂

  4. Karen Maezen Miller

    Paying attention is knowing it all. You see how the Buddha’s eyes are open still? Til next time.

  5. Stacy

    I’m trying to pay attention to my body and listen to what it tells me … my body lets me know when I am moving in the wrong direction (and the right direction!) in my life.

  6. nicole

    Andrea, I gave up wheat, sugar and dairy awhile ago, in prep for trying to get pregnant and it really helps me feel better. I also gave up caffeine, which I miss…but my body feels good.
    I like this phrase: “You are what you love and you love whatever you put your attention to.”
    Right now I am trying pay attention to the good feelings, and focus. Rather than the doubt feelings. EFT is helping with that too.

  7. the1stdaughter

    I’m just so jealous that you were able to see her. The treasures I have learned from her book have inspired me beyond what I could have imagined. It’s amazing how our view can change just by paying attention to something we weren’t focused on previously.

  8. Katie

    I’ve been thinking about this in light of your “to-be list” post. My reading, my marriage and my patio garden are thriving. My drawers/closets and spiritual life and exercise? Not so much. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. wilsonian

    An Andrea/Jen online class? Woooo-freaking-hoooo! 🙂
    Sign me up.

  10. Samilja

    I am so excited to hear more about this online class! Intrigue.

  11. Catherine

    can’t wait to learn more about the class!!
    things I am paying attention to:
    My baby Max
    My anger towards my brother for leaving my wedding early because he was mad and never telling us why – that was almost 2 years ago and I’m stewing.
    too much TV – Bravo tv that is.
    learning about Down syndrome so my baby gets as much early intervention as possible and thrives!
    Finding the best doctors for him and listening to the other mom’s who have kids with down syndrome
    too much e-mail facebook – blogs – etc….not enough breathing – fresh air – listening –
    and unfortunately not enough time loving on my wonderful husband who is asleep right now and I am typing instead of spooning……….

  12. Sandra

    I pay too much attention to my failures, I know this, but it is hard to stop. The problem is that part of me feels like that is the way I will change them, but it gets me down and makes it harder to change. I think it is probably the old brain in me not deciphering between a danger in the world and my problems – and feeling it has to keep an eye on the predator. To focus more on my strengths, and the beauty in my life, feels a little “dangerous” because it is like relaxing when all is not completely well. I will try. Can’t wait to hear about the new class!

  13. Vaishali

    “You are what you love, and you love what ever you give your attention to” was first written by the great 18th century Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. I found this phrase so powerful in its ability to create an inner revolution of pure liberation, that I entitled my first book “You Are What You Love®.” I hold a copyright on the phrase, as it is also the name of my syndicated radio shows.
    The radio shows are call-in format where listeners call in to examine what they are giving our attention to, and how that determines the direction of their inner and outer lives. I would like to formally invite anyone who has found value in this spiritual law to visit my web site, http://www.PurpleV.com and check out my books and radio shows.
    Many Blessings, and rock on!
    Vaishali, author, spiritual teacher, syndicated radio show host

  14. Vaishali

    “You are what you love, and you love what ever you give your attention to” was first written by the great 18th century Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. I found this phrase so powerful in its ability to create an inner revolution of pure liberation, that I entitled my first book “You Are What You Love®.” I hold a copyright on the phrase, as it is also the name of my syndicated radio shows.
    The radio shows are call-in format where listeners call in to examine what they are giving our attention to, and how that determines the direction of their inner and outer lives. I would like to formally invite anyone who has found value in this spiritual law to visit my web site, http://www.PurpleV.com and check out my books and radio shows.
    Many Blessings, and rock on!
    Vaishali, author, spiritual teacher, syndicated radio show host

  15. kellyb

    i am paying attention to….
    1. my new baubles that i am loving and having
    so much fun making
    2. my body, i am training for a tri-sprint
    3. my 15 year old, why do they try to grow up too fast
    4. ticket fares for squam and the oregan coast…woowhoo!
    5. myself….working on staying on task
    peace out.

  16. Thea

    I was just thinking about this idea this morning driving my son to camp. I often can get so caught up in my business when we are home, and get annoyed by distraction-often him wanting to interact. It isn’t all the time, but enough that my conscience tapped me on the shoulder to remind me that this was not the parent I want to be. I am not saying I can or will give him my attention all day every day and never do work, but there is a balance. The past few weeks I have been more mindful of really paying attention to him-talking with him and helping him learn (he is 4). It is amazing how wonderful this increased connection between us feels and how much I really am enjoying his company and our talks. This morning I have a lot on my plate with work, and a bit of that distraction/frustration surfaced and as I drove him to school we passed a cemetary. He asked what it was. After talking a bit about my mom who passed and trying to keep it simple and not scary yet not avoiding the topic … he said I don’t want to die. I told him he doesn’t have to worry about it, he will live a long life. At the next stop light I thought to myself who knows when each of us will die. And the common question arose. If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness what would you want to do before you die. I got in that moment of thought, that I want to be a present and loving mom.
    Sorry for the ramble, but this has been also on my mind lately.
    Oh and I have been sugar and flour free for almost 90 days now and it feels really good.
    Nice to hear about your experience
    xo
    t

  17. Paul Maurice Martin

    Over the years, I’ve paid quite a bit of attention to… attention! I think you’re on to something here.
    Attention is central to my understanding of what love is. Also, the power to direct our attention is an enormous one, and comes into play with both sitting meditation and mindfulness techniques.

  18. Steve Levinson

    A clinical psychologist, I couldn’t agree more that whatever you pay attention to thrives. The problem is, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re not completely in control of what we pay attention to. That’s because the human mind is stuck with some troublesome “wiring” that’s leftover from the days when we humans lived in caves and needed to be perpetually hyper-vigilant in order to stay alive. In other words, we’re wired to be far more distractible than our current living conditions require. Unfortunately, that means that we rarely stay sharply focused on what we decide matters the most, and we therefore rarely benefit fully from the impressive and well-documented power of focused attention.
    Years ago, I became so interested in this that I set out to develop a way for people to stay focused on whatever they decide matters the most to them. I invented a pager-like device known as the MotivAider (http://habitchange.com)that uses a private signal to automatically enable users to KEEP what matters on the front burner of their mind. It’s been amazing to see what a difference that staying focused has made to people who use this remarkably simple tool.

  19. Erin

    what am i paying attention to?
    *my dear husband, who’s going to school to make the life he wants. i admire him so.
    *my first attempt at urban gardening.
    *the lovely summer days. i don’t want to wake up mid-autumn having missed reveling in the warmth & growth.
    *my work, which continues to be both challenging & fun.

  20. jen gray

    such a good reminder, thanks a! hmmm… i need to slow done long enough to see what the heck ive been putting my attention towards! xo

  21. Leslie

    I too needed a nudge…a gentle reminder…right now I’m paying attention to my knitting and it IS flourishing and I have resolved not ever to NOT pay attention to son #2’s rambling thoughts on motorcycles!

  22. Sundries Sublime

    I’m curious how you’re feeling being sugar and dairy free. I’m doing an elimination diet (http://www.functionalmedicine.org/content_management/files/ifm_Comp_Elim_Diet_091503.pdf ). I’m only on day five, but I guess I thought I would see improvements already. I can’t say that I have. I know sometimes people get worse before they getter better, especially as the body goes through withdraws, etc. but I just really needed some quick affirmation that this is worth it!! 😉

  23. Andi

    Beautiful pic of the Buddha! I have been paying attention to my heart. I’ve been trying to follow it, instead of my brain. I think it’s been working pretty well for me!!! 🙂

  24. heidi

    My inner child…finally. And I pray that as we get to know each other and heal together from some deep wounds, I will be able to pay increasingly more attention to the wonders in my life…my husband, my own children and my Faith.

  25. nina

    I’m paying attention to being who I really am — as in when I’m having a crabby mom moment, I stop and ask myself if that’s who I really am. Guess what? The “real me” laughs a lot and is much more content to go with the flow.
    And good for you on the dairy and sugar. When we listen to our bodies and give up the foods that don’t jive, it makes a huge difference. My big one was gluten, four years ago, and no more arthritis!

  26. cadabyrgil

    criticized tropical heat action chemical 1980 national

  27. pom.

    can’t wait to hear about the online class!

  28. treemama

    1. what i’m putting in my mouth.
    2. the sky in the evening.
    3.my garden.
    i was feeling completely overwhelmed but went away for a long weekend, i was amazed how different i felt returning home after an absence with new eyes!

  29. treemama

    1. what i’m putting in my mouth.
    2. the sky in the evening.
    3.my garden.
    i was feeling completely overwhelmed but went away for a long weekend, i was amazed how different i felt returning home after an absence with new eyes!

  30. treemama

    1. what i’m putting in my mouth.
    2. the sky in the evening.
    3.my garden.
    i was feeling completely overwhelmed but went away for a long weekend, i was amazed how different i felt returning home after an absence with new eyes!

  31. candace

    thank you for posting that quote. I am embracing not only this idea of paying attention, but also the idea of not paying attention(for the good), if that makes sense.

  32. debra

    Thank you for the reminder. I am going to be more aware of what I am paying attention to.

  33. Megan

    I am going to jump on the bandwagon like everybody else and saying that paying attention not only keeps us alert, but it’s just like saying ‘have street sense and observe.’

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