Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Simple Art of Paying Attention

So I realized yesterday, when I went to hear a speaker who, like me, writes a blog on the merits of simplifying and paying slow attention to the ordinary offerings of a day, that a few distinctions separate her from me. She, for instance---by physical demeanor---exudes serenity, talks softly, pauses long, moves barely. I'm pretty sure the people in my life would not describe me that way.

The speaker's words were soothing, inspiring, understated, funny, even outrageous at times. These attributes make for good writing, but it is not a stretch for her to slow down. For me, it is a monumental achievement. I'm only saying that slowing down is not as "simple" for some as it is for others.

True, she's been writing her essays for five years in contrast to my one, but I doubt I will ever pull off serenity as well as she. The irony is that, despite giving lip service to the joy of life, she didn't sound happy. Her monotone public-speaking voice denied inner peace. It almost put me to sleep, and I couldn't help noticing other eyes at half-mast in the auditorium. Perhaps her aura of contentment relaxed us. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but it felt more depressing than relaxing. I wondered if people of my demeanor vex her soul. She spoke of giving up toxic people. I feared being one of them in her view, but I do enjoy a day and the things it has to offer, including the people in my life. dkm

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