Rapt Attention

If it’s available to you, close electronics and your eyes. With awareness of your breath, pair it with the mantra ‘peace’. If chaos exists nearby, say to yourself “I choose to see peace instead of this”.

Be conscious of your senses, the texture of warm clothes against your skin, delight of sunlight on your face, lingering taste of your morning coffee or tea. Be still. Pay attention to what this moment offers you, sounds, scents, feelings, textures.

Take another deep breath and open your eyes.

You create your world with what you pay attention to. Pay attention to the good, you’ll feel better. Pay attention to the bad, and, well… you get it.” Writes Eric Barker. He continues “Via Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life:

All day long, you are selectively paying attention to something, and much more often than you may suspect, you can take charge of this process to good effect. Indeed, your ability to focus on this and suppress that is the key to controlling your experience and, ultimately, your well-beingResearch shows that paying attention to positive feelings literally expands your world. “

Savoring the good things, Eric writes, “is one of the secrets of the happiest people and it’s part of the basis for one of the most effective happiness-boosting techniques.”

In creativity, external observation is combined with mindfulness. Think of it as absorbing life in childlike wonder.

Much of daily anxious stress is a result from thinking of future or past events. Giving pause to recognize positive elements in every day occurrence are crucially important to absorb fully. You will remember the birth of your child and the day you received the big promotion. Savoring small happy details, the flight of a butterfly, smile from a neighbor, hug of a friend, keep one grounded on a daily basis, adding up to major health benefits for long term wellness.

In painting, artists focus on one brushstroke at a time. Thou the act of painting is familiar, but the work itself, is not. While cooking a recipe the mind can wander to ‘next steps’ or the day’s agenda. During a run, it’s motivating to ponder what will emerge in the next mile. Painting unlike other pursuits, requires attention that is absolute. Original concept is developed and re-evaluated upon each brushstroke. In this way, artists can embody laser focus with ability to tune out what doesn’t apply to the immediate momentary act.

It is a process of diverting one’s scattered forces into one powerful channel. (James Allen)

To ease a cluttered mind and restore positive energy, for me, the key is recognizing this very moment will never come again. This enables one to focus and savour life with gratitude at any given moment.~

“Art is not an amusement, nor a distraction, nor is it, as many men maintain, an escape from life. On the contrary, it is a high training of the soul, essential to the soul’s growth, to its unfoldment.” ~Lawren Harris