Are you always paying attention, or do you sometimes get caught up in your life and lose focus?
Do things seem completely out of hand at times, making you wonder if you have any control at all?
They do for me.
One night recently I got home from a winter’s walk and set my gloves on the counter. It turns out I set them too close to the edge and they promptly fell on the floor. I don’t actually enjoy picking things up off the floor. My body is sort of stiff and inflexible, so it’s a bit of a chore for me. I’d rather it wasn’t this way and I do all sorts of exercises to help myself out, but it’s still challenging.
I reached down, took a firm hold of the gloves, and set them further onto the counter, then stopped and asked myself a question.
Why did this happen?
The simple answer was, I wasn’t paying enough attention. I casually placed them too close to the edge. This sequence of events could have easily ended there, but it didn’t because I believe everything we do is potentially meaningful.
So, what might be hidden in this for me?
It didn’t take long for me to realize that sometimes I’m just careless about things in my life. Little things and big things.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
Do you forget where your car keys are? Are you late for meetings? Do others have to repeat what they are saying to you because you weren’t listening to them? Do you miss turns while driving and have to go back?
These are all signs of not paying attention. Of course, they don’t usually cause real problems, but to me they do possess some undiscovered meaning.
What could they be pointing to?
Does anything jump into your mind?
As I sit back and wonder, something come to me. My mind is too busy. There’s just too much going on upstairs in my head and it makes it impossible to focus. Rumbling around are all my plans, ideas, to do list items, appointments, chores, grocery, and meal preparation plans…the list goes on and on. I’d be willing to bet your own head is as full as mine.
Part of the value of sitting back is that it provides a respite and a way to gain some distance from things, to let them fall away, if only for a short period of time. When I find myself in the middle of an episode of inattentiveness, I give myself permission to stop. Stop and see what value is hidden in my situation.
If I give myself a chance, I can often find at least one treasure. Granted it takes some practice, but it’s well worth it.
So, why did my gloves fall on the floor? That’s where this all started. Could there truly be more to it than just an act of carelessness?
The gloves falling was a tip off. An alert. A sort of warning alarm to let me know that if I’m inattentive with the little things, I’m also probably inattentive with the big things in my life. And most of the big things matter.
At the moment, I have a lot of big things going on, so this alert message helps me to center. It’s one thing to have gloves fall onto the floor, it’s another thing entirely if I don’t pay attention to medical, financial, emotional, or other concerns.
Realizing that the major reason for my lack of attention is that my head is too full is a wonderful thing. It gives me the opportunity to release those things that are taking up valuable space and to shift my thinking and consciously choose what to focus my time and energy on.
In the end, I’m glad my gloves fell onto the floor and set off a chain reaction that helped to clear my mind and give me some incentive to pay better attention.