I'm Paying Attention

I picked up the phone yesterday to schedule a meeting with my beloved coach who I haven’t seen in a long minute. The first thing he says:

“You sound really good.”

There’s a handful of people I really trust when they say things like that. People I believe can sense my energy over the phone. He’s one of them. With a laugh and a dramatic sigh of relief, I said:

“Yeah! I’m paying attention.

Paying attention? I’m paying attention. I never heard myself put it that way. I liked the way it sounded.

“Yes,” he echoed. “You sound really focused.”

That felt really good to hear. And it got me thinking. What does that mean - that I’m paying attention? I’m circling around three things:

  1. Mental Clarity. Since giving up things like excessive alcohol, I’ve had a lot more space to think about how I’m feeling and what I really want to be doing moment-to-moment. It’s not all roses - sometimes I’m pulling at the weeds. But it’s more fun to explore the nuances of my own emotional spectrum when I’m asking the right questions. For example…

    Is this love or is it infatuation?

    Is this hunger or is it boredom?

    Is this anger or is it ego?

  2. Physical Awareness. With more mental real estate to play with, I’m making more informed decisions about where to put my body. How to move. What to eat. When to wake up or go to sleep. It’s an ongoing experiment in consistency and it gets messy sometimes. But just like the real scientific method, the more I repeat a routine, the more I learn. And adjustments are always available to make.

  3. Spiritual Grounded-ness. Gentle, gentle, gentle — that’s the unspoken mantra I’ve been whispering to myself throughout my transformation these last few months.

    When I’m feeling really hyped about completing a task and I want to go even harder I have to remind myself, is this a pace I can sustain?

    When I want to beat myself up about the way I’ve acted in a relationship I have to ask myself, is that guilt really helping you out right now?

    I’ve had to sacrifice a few short-term pleasures for my long-term goals and I’m learning to be ok with letting those go.

This mindset is not an on/off switch for me. It’s a fluid practice I commit to and learn from everyday.

What does it mean for you to pay attention?