Day 29: Paying Attention (#30DaysofBrigid)

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One of my favorite verses in my life as a mother, writer, artist and as a conscious observer of the rhythms and flow of life comes from this poem by Mary Oliver:

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

I consider this one of my life mottoes and in fact got it stamped on a pendant with my children’s names on it. It also forms the foundation of what I do with my sculptures and jewelry. Coincidentally, early last week I added it to the section of our website where we describe our pendants and why we create them:

These pendants are born from paying attention, being astonished, and telling about it. We hope they remind you of your own astonishment and help you tell about it!

via Pewter Pendants – Brigid’s Grove.

So, it was lovely to see it then pop up for 30 Days of Brigid today,

I also used in on my birth blog, explaining why I blog in the first place:

To me, it sums up the reason why I continue to write this blog. I have so many things going on in my life and I often wonder why I bother to continue writing blog posts. Does it matter at all? Aren’t I just adding to the general cacophony of voices and wild, information overloaded chaos of the internet (and even of the birth activist sphere in general). I feel almost compelled to do so though. And, really, the reason why is to tell about it. There is a lot to be astonished by in one’s everyday life. While I can get distracted and frantic and lose my present moment orientation, I do pay attention a lot. To a lot of things. A friend told me at my blessingway that I live my life with more intention than most people she knows. I considered that to be a great compliment—and, I also think I live my life with a lot of attention. Sometimes that attention may seem like excessive navel-gazing and very often it is excessively self-critical (and, isn’t that being self-centered, she says critically and self-evaluatively?), but I feel like I am a generally observant person, paying attention to my place in the world and the manner in which I walk through my day. And, the paying attention is intimately involved with then wanting to tell about it—here, on my blog 🙂

Additionally, it forms part of my theory of theapoetics, a model I coined to describe the spontaneous poetry I compose in the woods and which was the former name of this blog:

If we really stopped to think about this—to sense how we are carried by the great wind, I think the whole world would change, how people relate to each other and to the environment would be transformed. Stop, look, listen, breathe, and feel how we spin. Together.

via Theapoetics | WoodsPriestess which later evolved into my first post on Feminism and Religion: Theapoetics

Ironically, today I was so busy working I didn’t spend much time paying attention OR telling about it. With the snow, followed by ice and cold temperatures, I haven’t gone anywhere for eleven days and counting! I’ve actually enjoyed this period of “cave time”—it fact, in many ways, it has felt like exactly what I needed. We’ve made fun foods (as well as used up some of the many items languishing in our freezers), caught up on some projects and household tasks, played games, made art, played music, written, and read books. Today, however, I had a lot of work to do on my current classes (one of which I am not enjoying), it took me lots longer than I hoped, the baby napped extremely poorly, and I felt “fuzzy” and almost resentful of having to get back to “real life.” I slipped out to the mailbox in the afternoon, crunching and sliding on the ice. I paid attention to the patterns the grass stems made coming out of the icy field and the crunching sound of my boots. Ahead, in the cold air, I saw our old kite, remnant of a summer’s afternoon past, bright against the cold sky, spread out and fluttering again from the tree in which it was stranded, too high to retrieve. There! That’s my picture for today! Only, as I broke through the icy ground in the field to get close enough to snap the pic, my cell phone’s battery died. I waited in the house for a while then and then went to the woods with my drum. I didn’t see anything there of particular interest to tell about either and kept thinking of that kite. The sun was starting to set and I knew the kite would be a good picture with the sunset backdrop. I left the woods and slogged back up the driveway and crunched across the field to the kite, raised the camera, trying to get some of the sunset in the background and the screen went dark. iPhones shut themselves off in freezing temperatures…Alas! As I trudged back to the house trying not to slip and fall, I thought of how ironic it was that in trying to “tell about” that dang kite, I’d likely missed paying attention to so many other possible things! Way to miss the point today, Molly! 😉

Categories: #30daysofBrigid, writing | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Day 29: Paying Attention (#30DaysofBrigid)

  1. Tell me about your drum. what is it like. ? how do use it? where did you get it?/?

  2. Alexis

    Thanks for this. I definitely needed to hear this today. Do you have a recommendation for a pagan-inspired book on cultivating mindfulness?

    • My favorite mindfulness type books are of the daily meditation variety. I particularly enjoy the two compilations Life Prayers and Earth Prayers and my favorite is Open Mind by Diane Mariechild. 🙂

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