So much of our waking life is stained by the experience of being lost in thought. Our thoughts hijacked by worries about the future or locked in repetition of events past. And when our minds aren’t caught up in rumination, we tend to be so easily distracted by attention-dominating habits and activities we never consciously chose to give so much of ourselves to.
We live in a world where technological advances have weaved their way into our daily lives faster than we could build an understanding of their impact. At the same time, ill-conceived business models have incentivised new media to grip and keep hold of our attention for as long as possible. Faced with such unfamiliar and seductive demands on our attention, we can no longer be as carefree as we once may have been.
Our attention defines our reality; only that which we attend to has the power to shape our understanding of the world. What we gift this most precious resource to determines the direction our lives will unfold in and ultimately weaves the fabric of who we become.
While the stresses of modern living and the prevalence of digital media mean there is always something clawing for our attention, we need not passively accept all that vies for it. Not everything that is thrust upon our minds is in our best interest. The ruminating nature of our untended thoughts or the captivating glow emanating from our screens serve their own interest, not ours. So much of our attention is gifted to habits we never chose to form. And all the while, perpetually distracted, the one truly meaningful experience that resides in the present moment, slips us by unnoticed.
This moment is all there ever really is. This moment that is slow and nuanced and dripping with the richness of experience. This moment which we can only ever truly know by attending to it fully.
The freedom to choose what we attend to is ours the moment we become aware of our habitual distraction. Lost in thought or locked into the glow emanating from our screens, we gift so much of ourselves to habits that take us away from the here and now. In the first instance, all we have to do is notice that we have a choice.
Possessing the ability to mindfully select what we gift our attention to will determine the quality of our life. With the feeling of being chronically time-starved a dominant feature in western culture, can we afford to let so much of our existence pass us by unnoticed?
Growing critical of what we allow to capture our attention and ultimately becoming highly selective about what we gift it to, are skills worth cultivating. Philosopher Simone Weil once wrote, “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity”. Not everything in life is worthy of ours.
And yet, once we have decided that something is worth attending to, we should do so with abandon. This moment is all we ever really have. Undistracted and fully present, we should select it wisely but then give ourselves up to it fully.
Images above show a set of brand new handmade ceramic bowls in various sizes and two beautiful, neutral glazes that will be available very soon, Stone Washed Flatware Set and Stone Washed Dessert Fork and Spoon, Natural Hemp Palm Broom, Hand Dyed Vintage Linen Cushion Cover in Linden, Maple Cutting Board, Pallares Solsona Rounded Knife, Copper Kettle, Cloth Bowl Cover, Woven Kettle Holder, Shuro Palm Trivets, Belgian Linen Napkin Set in Raw Umber
California Breakfast Bowls recipe from the lovely Quitokeeto which you can find here.