Thinking Yogi

The intersection of two loves: yoga and writing.

Paying attention as a radical act

Posted by on in Family
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 7697
  • Subscribe to this entry

Yesterday afternoon I sat at my desk, typing away, trying to get 60 things done in 5 minutes as my sweet children climbed on my lap to ask me questions about a book they were looking at. I answered them distractedly, just trying to keep them happy for another precious few minutes so I could respond to a some more emails. I knew I would later regret my disconnect, but I still couldn't make myself unplug enough to engage with them fully in the moment. I felt so frustrated (both with myself for not connecting and with them for needing me to). I felt powerless, enslaved by my own to dos. But if the busyness never seems to go away, how can I move beyond the busy from time to time?

A few weeks ago I had a fabulous shiatsu session with Jana, and I was remembering tonight the way it felt to let go of all the nonsense and busyness for an hour and just soak up the grounding, nurturing experience that is shiatsu bodywork. During my session I became completely attuned to the sensations in my body - warmth, tingling, pulsing, heaviness - and the thought occurred to me: in this day and age, truly paying attention is a radical act.

Think about it - how often do we really allow the busyness to fall away in order to tune in to a feeling, to a person, to nature? How often do we make the decision to turn off the phone or computer, to keep the TV dark and silent so we can zone in (instead of zoning out) on one small thing, on connecting?

For the most part, it has not been pretty around here this summer. It's a pretty simple equation. Too much to do + Not enough time = Distraction/Disconnection. But when I lose my way (and it happens way more often than I'd like), I've been returning to my shiatsu experience as a reminder of how I want to feel and be. We busy people need some kind of busyness antidote, some reminder of how good just paying attention can be. Maybe that reminder is taking the dog for a long walk, or rolling out the yoga mat, or having a long conversation with a good friend. Anything that nudges you out of the busy world and into the real world where things are slower and more simple, anything that provides you the luxury of a deep breath and a change of pace.

Last night as I tucked the kids into bed and forgot all about the emails flashing on my computer screen, as I looked my kids in the eyes and laughed with them, as I lost myself in the world of the story we were reading together, I felt that spark, that electric feeling that only true connection can bring. Not the internet kind of connection, but the connection of people breathing out words, pausing and giving pause, and the excitement of looking into someone's eyes and knowing that you are understood.

Kerry is the Founder & Director of Bloom Yoga Studio, voted Best Yoga Studio in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, and Citysearch. As a practicing yogi, writer, and mother of three, Kerry is all about making the principles and philosophies of yoga real and accessible for day-to-day living. You can find Kerry on Google+.