Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paying attention....

Yesterday I spent a large part of my time in a meeting where I truly had no “real” role to play. A project with multiple stakeholders where I was done with my part. But the other stakeholders seemed to be in some deadlock and I was called in by one of them – why I am still not sure. As I tried to make sense of the agenda and implicit expectations, I felt that the only real reason i was there was because someone had a need to be listened to. When that listening was not happening with one of the stakeholders, he actually hoped I would do the part – so there i was. And I listened. I am not even sure how much that listening will help – but yes, I did what seemed to be the only thing to do.

While I was listening, the thing that struck me is how much of attention we pay to the stuff that does not work out as we hoped it would. The things that go wrong. The things that need to be “fixed”. Sadly, all this attention happens at the cost of paying attention to things that actually worked or are going right. Things, which if paid complete attention to, would certainly have the potential to fix the larger problem.

With all this in my mind, I stumbled upon this Ted Talk by Julia Bacha – amazing coincidence (as all coincidences are!). While she speaks about paying attention to non-violence in a larger global context, it got me thinking about what are some of the things that I pay attention to - as a friend, a mother, a wife, a professional, a citizen on the road. How many times do things that are going all wrong or not meeting my expectations or demanding more that I can give take up my mind space? People around me not living upto my expectations of them – it could be my family, my colleagues, my friends, the security at my gate or even the car driver on the road. And as I nurture all these incidents and experiences with my attention, I know it leaves that much less time for all the things that are truly wonderful, that energise me, that are working out even beyond my own expectations!

Also, inside of myself, what are some of the things I pay attention to? How many conversations have I had just in the last week bemoaning to everyone who cares to listen about my thyroid condition? Or how the noise levels at work are completely driving me up the wall! Or even highlighting how little time I spend on myself? Oh the time i spent delving on anger, disappointment, a sense of inadequacy. And at the asme time, how i miss paying attention to all the wonderful blessings, the things that are working just fine, the moments that give me energy, love, understanding and just pure joy!

The questions that I therefore ask of myself: can I spend a little more time telling the husband of all the thoughtful little things he does around the house rather than the things i feel he does not do? Or let the little one know how much I enjoy her humming to herself more than reminding her to speak softly to mamma! And reach out to commend that teacher sitting in the sandpit fully present to the child instead of complaining of the noise during playtime? Also loving my body more for all the times it wakes up feeling energised, healthy and hopeful instead of feeling frustrated about why it won’t fit into those jeans I bought last year! Finally paying less attention to moments I feel small or inadequate to the times I feel more whole and complete and filled with life!

And I know this to be true - when I pay attention to all these within myself, and when I highlight these in my relationships and other spaces, it will automatically put the things that seem all wrong in the right perspective!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very true! but no nia-isms in this post!