Take a Drink

We have so many beautiful ways to pay attention.

I heard an interview with David Barrie who wrote a book about animal navigation and all the different ways animals find their way—light, the pattern of waves, the Earth’s magnetic field, and many more. Animals know that their survival depends on paying attention. I’ve never seen a distracted, non-human animal.

We humans, on the other hand, tend to believe that what’s going on in our head is reality instead of attending to what exists around us so that we can discover reality.

My sister sent me an announcement about some paintings that are currently showing in a gallery nearby. I was in the same part of town as the gallery yesterday but didn’t even remember to look for, much less at, the paintings. My mind was occupied with the list of tasks I’d decided on for the evening.

One morning I poured myself a cup of assam tea but thought I had brewed some Earl Grey. For the first few sips I couldn’t figure out why the tea tasted bad. The tea tasted fine, but the flavor didn’t meet my expectations. We often ask the question, “What does such and such taste like?” wanting to fit it into a pre-existing category. Instead, we could take a drink wondering, “What is the taste of this tea?”

We have the capacity to plan for the future and remember and learn from the past, but we live in the present. Right now, the beauty of the world is yearning to relate to us. Right now we can hear the mockingbird showing off his repertoire. At this moment, we can walk through the dew on the grass, feel wetness, and look back to see the impression our miraculous feet made, dark against the startling green.

And maybe, if we’re still and silent enough, we’ll remember the pull of Earth’s magnetism.

3 thoughts on “Take a Drink

  1. Today, I will practice paying attention to being inattentive. I wonder if I can keep track of it? I want a smartwatch that is well as counting my steps can count my thoughts? What do you mean a watch can not count thoughts? I thought the watch was Smart. If it can think it can count my thoughts.

    Or how about a watch that counts how present I am to the beauty of the day? I would like a little a goal at the end of the day that said, Miguel, congratulations, you were distracted from the present only 10,000 times.

    And then, because it is so smart, it would have videoed those moments I missed, sent them to the cloud, pressed them into a CD, and snail mailed it to me in a little red envelope called”distrac-flix.” And of course, I would forget to “watch” it because, you know, I get distracted. Anyway, my point is Rachel; I enjoyed your piece. Miguel Pérez-Gibson

    CEO All Play and No Work miguelperezgibson@me.com

    “Life is short. And we do not have long to gladden the hearts of those who walk the way with us. So let us be swift to love. And let us make haste to show kindness.” Swiss philosopher Henri Amiel.


  2. The earth’s magnetism is extremely important. That’s how we stay grounded, and our electrics stay polarized correctly. I suspect that when we are distracted our polarities are reversed. When my polarities are reversed my energy-testing decisions are backwards. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get one’s electrics polarized correctly.

    Yeah. When I am walking with Savvy it would be good go be walking with Savvy, not making lunch or shopping, or berating myself, or replaying facebook or whatever. Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.
    : )

    Love Miguel’s comment and the quote by Henri Amiel.

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