Letters to myself (5)

Attentive

Attentive


When I go for a walk I prefer to go alone, not because I don’t like company but because I can’t concentrate on noticing things. It requires letting go of thought, and it sounds like an odd contradiction that what we call mindfulness needs to be acheived by thoughtlessness – but it requires stepping off the endless loop of jibber-jabber that goes on and on inside my head all the time. Like leaving a room full of manic conversation and closing the door for a while. 

Paying attention means noticing. Animals do it all the time, constantly. But as a species we humans have become monumentally forgetful of the way it feels to just look, and listen, and sniff, and feel – and notice. I can’t believe how often I forget to do this myself, and I need frequent reminders to bring me back to it, again and again and again. 

It’s easier to do it in the presence of animals, or birds, or even insects. Words fall away. What they do, by paying attention, simply can’t be done with words. 

Little unknown insect in the sun

This is the fifth post in a series of letters to myself at the beginning of the year – the first one is here. I’d thought I would post one a day until 12th Night, and I’ve reached that point – but now I find I still have more to say to myself by way of nudges and pointers and so I think there may be more to come – just not quite so frequently. 

Last year I posted here only once in a while (being rather occupied with writing posts on my sketching blog) – but this space is special for me, and I’ve felt the lack of it. Writing and posting here again feels like coming home. It’s good to be back. 

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5 thoughts on “Letters to myself (5)

  1. Lovely drawing, again. 🙂
    Exotic places are interesting, while places in town that I know, are not so interesting. I can feel myself willing myself to find something in town interesting, trying to make something worthwhile out of chatter and repetition. Nature is always interesting to me because there is always something going on. Why is nature different – it is more beautiful. Last autumn I cut a stem of a poppy and put it in a little jar. It bends a little this way and that, and somehow it sings, just sings with love and life.

    1. Is it the knowing, the familiarity that makes the town you know less interesting? The places that are so familiar to us would be exotic to some others. But yes, it’s the constant change in the natural world that can’t fail to catch our attention I think, and the fact that nature is so miraculous – like your poppy stem that sings with life! I love that.

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