The Art of Paying Attention

Have you noticed that when you pay attention to something, really pay attention, other things fade and you lose sense of time and space. It’s more than just about focus, it’s what our brains filter out.

In a world of distraction, interruption and the seduction of social media, knowing what to give our focus to can be challenging. We have such wandering minds.

Have many tabs have you got open right now? Or Apps? Do you try and do too much?

Paying attention is the key, or so it seems.  Whether it’s driving, crossing the street safely, learning a new skill, writing (and reading) blog posts. It’s paying attention to the details that makes the difference … to the details of our surroundings, the details in our relationships. The details in the details.

Being attentive is being curious … and taking the time to explore and discover whatever there is to know about something.

There’s a fabulous show here in Australia called Have you been paying Attention. “The topical comedy show where comedians turn this week’s headlines into outrageous punchlines”.

I’m picky about what I watch on television these days and I rarely watch the news. Give me an uplifting documentary or a feel good movie any day. Or something that makes me laugh, but’s still informative, like this show.

Have you been Paying Attention features a panel of intrepid quizzers including regular funny men Sam Pang and Ed Kavalee, amongst other guests who are asked questions relating to what’s making headlines each week.

Tom Gleisner is the witty host who keeps things ticking along. The show is filled with humour, jibes, hilarious comebacks and interesting titbits about show biz, sport, music, entertainment and politics. It’s not only funny but keeps us up to date with current affairs.

Pay attention to people that make you laugh, make you feel good, lift you up and those who are always there. Take note of the big picture too.

As I write this, mid August, I’m noticing all the signs that tell me Spring is on its way.

There’s wattle appearing on trees, vibrant yellow against wintry blue skies. Flowers are blooming.

Paying attention to the details can sometimes take a bit of effort. It’s a bit like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly. It needs to go deep, to keep us focused for longer periods of time.

For this week really pay attention and just notice. 

    Feel the warmth of the sun on your back, the breeze in your hair.
    Notice the food you eat, savour every mouthful and the way it tastes.
    Be curious about the world.
    When you’re walking notice how your feet touch the earth.
    Practice attentive listening, without interruption.
    Read a long book, slowly. Less scrolling, more focus.
    Work in full screen mode, on one thing at a time. Close everything else. Stop multi tasking and just do one thing, properly.
    Memorise something every week.
    Notice the words you speak, to others and to yourself.
    Try five minutes of meditation. Notice your breath. Notice the sensations in your body. Listen for outside noises. Notice everything, without judgement.

That’s when the mundane becomes magical.

Right now is all we have, the present, and, as cliched as it sounds, it really is a gift. As artists, with the world as our canvas, we all have the ability to create a great masterpiece, if we focus and pay attention.

Where are you putting your attention? It all starts with being aware.

Here’s wishing you all an amazing, awesome and attention filled rest of August.

In light and love


Here’s lookin’ at you kid! He looks pretty attentive doesn’t he?


96 thoughts on “The Art of Paying Attention

  1. Miriam, I’m paying attention to your wonderful advice! It is rare for people to give their absolute awareness to things in life and those moments are precious gifts. As you write, ‘other things fade and you lose sense of time and space’. It is an exhilarating feeling as everything else fades into the background and you enter a world of timelessness! You had me laughing as you mentioned tabs – the other day I closed 150+ on my iPad!! I’m surprised it still worked, trying to load all these every time.

    As we in the Northern hemisphere are inching our way to Autumn I will follow your lovely suggestions … the sun is out, the breeze blowing so a perfect lunch opportunity in peace and harmony with nature outside in the garden.

    Wishing you a wonderful rest of the month. hugs xx 😀❤️🌺

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re right Annika, it is rare for people to give their absolute attention to something but when it happens it’s something to hold on to. I often find it in my music and guitar playing. How are your piano lessons going?
      And yes, those tabs 🤣 I’m guilty myself of having heaps open. 150 is a good effort Annika! Enjoy your coming into Autumn. Here we’re nearing spring and I’m so looking forward to some warmer days. Take care and enjoy the rest of the month. xx 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Enjoy the soft Spring days and I will delight in reading about them from your posts! 😀 The piano playing stalled as the music school went through three teachers in as many months. Hoping to take it up this autumn when my son goes to uni. This time a teacher can come to the piano at home instead!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love, love everything about this post, and you know what I noticed…your little black and white bird photo almost matches my bird photo on instagram today. And that bird I just saw by chance at a friends property in the hills. It was a bird species that I’d never seen before in my 30 years of living in the hills! He even hung around long enough for us to scramble and get cameras. Pretty amazing what you do notice when you really look at your surroundings. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just went and checked our your photo on Insta. Gorgeous. We’re so in tune again! How wonderful and very special when we notice those little things. Have a great week Glenys.

      Like

  3. If we were paying attention to all the things we do at any given time, we could actually end up saving time. We’d be much more effective.
    Have you been paying attention seems like a wonderful show. It seems like the magical tablet that can not only cure your disease but also manage to taste wonderful at the same time.
    That’s such wonderful advice. ♥️ I loved the poem. In fact, I loved each and every single line of this post. This is so, so good. Thank you for inspiring me, Miriam. This post was just the thing I needed to lift my spirits after a hectic day at work. Take care, dear. And of course, I promise to pay a little more attention everyday until that muscle of mine gets properly developed. ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well that was good timing. Just finished watching Have you been paying attention”
    How cool is this show. You’re so right Miriam, keeps us informed as well as having a laugh along the way.
    I guess we all need to pay a little more attention now and again. Especially to the little things in life! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! It certainly sounds as though you’re paying attention. Balance is the key isn’t it. 😊And encouraging our younger ones to get out in nature is always worthwhile. Hope you have a wonderful week. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good advice here! We’ve just driven across western Canada, BC to AB, and noticed signs of autumn already. It’s only August, but there are hints…
    Also noticed that city drivers are so impatient!
    Thanks, Miriam, and I hope your week is off to a good start.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it’s amazing how quickly the seasons change PC. Sounds like a good trip you had, except for those impatient city drivers. They’re here too! Have a great week.

      Like

  6. A brilliant, helpful and uplifting post that caught my full attention! Of all the articles on mindfulness I have read, yours is one of the most compelling and accessible. The picture at the end made me smile. An amazing, awesome and attention filled rest of August to you too, Miriam. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Miriam, as I tried to remember certain period of time when I was extremely busy, I don’t remember the details. Everything was so blurry. Your suggestion of things we should try to pay attention to is a practical list.
    I was so glad I noticed when the mourning doves came back to their old nest, checked out the condition, then the female dove came back the next day to pay two eggs.
    Thank you for sharing this important post, Miriam.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Miriam, thanks for your lovely comment. It really is amazing what we notice (and what we would otherwise miss) when we truly pay attention. Like your doves. How wonderful. Enjoy the rest of your August.

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  8. lol he is just waiting for your attention to lapse so he can nab that brightly hued safety shirt!

    when the mundane becomes magical is an apt description of the meditation process, nice words and great message, thanks Miriam.
    How is Doug?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sounds like perfect advice Miriam, so many these days can’t concentrate for long at all and their attention span is incredibly short. The smartphone has a lot to answer for I suppose. Just appreciating the moment that you are in and the world around you can be magical. Always always worth taking time to be in the here and now.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You’re right, it’s so hard to focus these days as we have so many distractions and so many demands on our time. Sometimes when my phone “dings” with a text, I actually think, “Oh, just leave me alone!” We all need time to focus on something completely, and time to tune everything else out. Thanks for the reminder, Miriam!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I must admit I’ve had those thoughts too when my phone blings. Then I put it on silent. I love my quiet walks in the morning with Harry when I truly enjoy being in the moment. Enjoy the rest of your week Ann.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Miriam, this post truly hits home for me. I absolutely agree. Taking the time to pay attention to what surrounds us allows us to materialize our thoughts and imagination. This is what allows me to be creative in my writing, but also to be less stressed in general. I still have a lot to learn because I often feel like I’m running out of time and yes I do lots of multitasking! The only time I get off completely is when I read a novel. I savor it and refuse to read it in a hurry in one evening. I still need to learn to do the same in other spheres of my life. Thank you for your advice that I will try to apply.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean about reading Dominique, that’s when I’m truly wholly focused too. Oh, and when I’m playing my guitar. But otherwise, I’ll admit, I’m guilty of multi tasking and trying to do too much as well.
      Glad you could relate to my post. You know what I think about time, to a certain extent we can just make the most of it. Cliched maybe but everything we do is a choice isn’t it. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know if we really have as much choice as we think, Miriam. I gave the question of “Free Will” some thoughts and even started to write a post on the topic a while ago, but I have put it aside because it was getting way to philosophical… And depressing! I had realized that a lot of my decisions weren’t independently made by me. Chocking thought, isn’t it? In his book Invisible Influence, Jonah Berger talks about unseen pressures. He explains that they make us relax a bit because if all of our choices were really our own we would be constantly feeling anxious… I’m feeling anxious right now —I am afraid that you will start avoiding me if I go on. Lol I do remember Berger saying something funny though. He said that if he ever wrote his own obituary, he would start with this sentence: “Due to circumstances beyond my control…”
        Time for me to go to bed now. I’m working tomorrow. To a certain degree it is my choice, I admit. Enjoy your weekend dear friend. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think to a degree we CAN choose what we think. Even though lots of thoughts are subconscious and we don’t even realise they’re driving our decisions I do believe we have the power to shift our thoughts. If we’re aware of them and if we catch them. It’s a fascinating and yes a deep subject and I can understand how you started writing and then dropped it. It’s not easily put into words. I don’t think I’ll start avoiding you though Dominique!
          An interesting concept by Jonah Berger, that’s for sure.
          Sleep well and if you’re just waking up, hope your new day is a good one, work or no work. Take care xx

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post Miriam. I think women in particular do themselves a great disservice saying that they can do and trying to do, more than one thing at a time. I think the problem lies with traditional nurturing and house tending roles when we go from one job to the other and back again, because we are trying to do all the these things, and we do sort of. But of course you really only do one thing at a time. Apparently it frays bits of your brain, or something… You’re quite right. And spring is in the air. I am doing the 35k Bloody Long Walk this weekend so finally I’m freed up a bit. Hoping the rain holds off. Louise

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Louise. What you said is so true. I just met up with someone I hand’t seen for ages yesterday and she was so down because she felt like she was “trying to do everything and be everything for her family”. I told her that it’s impossible and we’re all ultimately responsible for our own happiness. Such pressure we put on ourselves but, like you said, it goes back to that traditional nurturing.
      Good on you for doing the 35K Bloody Long Walk, I’m impressed. Yes, hope the weather is good for you. All the best. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Excellent post, Miriam! My life is so full of responsibilities that I’ve learned how to zoom into what is right in front of me. Everything else fades away. And when I’m out in Nature, ooooo la la! I merge with Her, and the world of my own making I walk right into. My eyes become saucers. I look and I look and I ooh and ahh and the amazement and wonder delight my very soul. Every time I’m washing dishes I look out my window to the bird feeders, getting drawn into the activity I’m seeing, and again merging with the NOW. I like “feeling” with my hands washing those dishes (except for glass) as my eyes enjoy the show before me. This world is so amazing and wondrous and I every chance I get, plunge in with both feet. FYI …. I always have full screen on. ONE thing at a time here. I just deleted my FB account (I HATE FB) and WP is the only social media I’m involved in. The less I’m on here the more time that gives me to plunge into LIFE. I also multitask a lot, due to my life being just so crammed. Some days, Miriam, I go from one thing right on to another. And by the time it is for me to lay my head on my pillow, I’m a goner. SO glad it’s getting to be Spring there ….. I will soak up the Beauty you show here while we slide into Fall and then *groan* Winter. I LOVED this, post!! Keep ‘um coming! Come on, folks, there is more to living then the computer! 🌟🌟🌟🎈🎈🎈

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Amy, so much of your comment made me smile. You would be an absolute joy to go walking with. I know that when I’m out walking every day with Harry the hound I’m so in tune with nature and everything around me. It sure is a wondrous world and I’m reminded of that every day.
      As for FB and social media, for me it’s all about balance. I’m learning to step away from it more and more. And yes, I do know and understand about the multi tasking. I think as women it’s almost ingrained in us to a degree. Enjoy your days as you move slowly into Fall. And thank you again for a lovely comment. 💚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you Miriam. Your words always sit deep with me.
    I have struggled lately with focusing on one thing only my brain is like my internet browser 100 tabs open and nothing getting finished.
    Keep up the amazing work and thank you for the remind to slow down and focus

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can absolutely relate to your struggles Cat. My mind is often like that, thinking in overload mode. Happy day ahead my friend. And thank you for the kind words. xx

      Like

  15. You got me curious about the show. I found episodes on you tube and it is funny! I love noticing details, especially where not expected. I see angel shapes in wood, bears in the clouds and such. I noticed that a rock sculpture that is sitting on a shelf in my son’s living room looks like a couple kissing. It is not at all, but I see it! People always tell me, “Rosita, only you would notice that!” Early this morning I noticed glimmering spots of light coming through the frosted window as I showered and I prayed for God ‘s light to shine upon my grandkids as they grow! Awareness as you say is a wonderful practice. And awareness of one thing can lead someone to a different wonderful place! I think multitasking is just hard for us women to overcome! But it is so nice to just concentrate on one thing! Retreats and workshops are so great for getting away and focusing on oneself or areas of interest! For me, I love a painting workshop! I loved this post! Sorry for going on so long! But on the other hand…I was focused on your article and the awareness that it brought up for me! So good job on getting me to not multi task for awhile!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No need to apologise Rosita. I think that’s one of the nicest comments I’ve received. I love that it made you think and what it conjured up for you. Isn’t it amazing how we can look at things and see many intricacies in them. It’s one of the joys of travelling and blogging I think, being so mindful of our surroundings. But also, as you said, just noticing the little, everyday things in our life. Yes, multi tasking is a bit ingrained in us females I think but at least it allows us to get things done! It’s good though every now and again to just stop and focus and really appreciate what’s in front of us. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  16. As I start my vacation from society next week in the deep woods of Maine, I will think of your words and how fitting they are when one seeks to maintain a modicum of sanity in a world of maddening stupidity. When I rest my head to the overwhelming calm of nature, with no man made sounds to be heard, I will send quiet thoughts to you and yours and wish you well.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I’m beginning to realize that I’m most aware and attentive when I am outside walking Jett. I savor those moments, enjoying fragrant blooms and fluttering butterflies. As Hippocrates said, “Nature itself is the best physician.” I think we all could use more nature in our lives. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Miriam, I love this advice! It’s very fitting that I’ve come to read this right after scheduling the quote I’ve decided to share this week. Very much a moment of synchronicity and a reminder from the universe that paying attention is exactly what I need to do this week!! Spring looks like its beginning to blossom beautifully there. We’ve recently had some very fall-like days, very strange for August. I hope all is well!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Another brilliant full of wisdom post from you Miriam, I used to multi-task.. on many levels at work and at home… Far too much stress!… It took me about a year after my retirement to learn to slow down.. Hubby had retired several years before I did, and was always telling me to slow down there is always tomorrow lol..
    So only one tap open hahaha..

    I love to just drift into paying attention, and liked that you picked the bird to show that focus, I am an avid bird watcher in my garden and when I focus in on them feeding everything else fades. I love the list you have given your readers here to follow especially the one that reminds us about watching how we speak to others and ourselves.. All too often we silently admonish ourselves, a trait I had to undo 🙂

    Many thanks Miriam for these reminders
    Much love your way my friend ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I know only too well that voice that admonishes ourselves or belittles our efforts. It’s a constant challenge to shift our thoughts and rise above the self doubts and fears. I do find that being outside in nature helps. I love watching the birds, like you it’s a constant source of peace in my garden that I’m so grateful for.
      As for multi tasking, I think as women it’s almost part of our make up but I am finding as I get older that I’m getting better at just focusing on one thing.
      Thank you for your lovely words as always Sue. Always love it when you visit. Have a wonderful Friday and upcoming weekend. Love and hugs sent to you xx ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always love my visits too Miriam… its like savouring a treat of delights from insightful writing to travelling to wonderful places the other side of the globe.. via your camera lens.. And yes one task at a time these days suites me just fine LOL.. ❤
        Have a great weekend to come ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Miriam,
    Hope all is well with you.
    All ok here but somehow since June it has been difficult getting back on an even keel. I have had a few social events to focus on but a biggy for me has been weekly hospital visiting to my 89yr old friend & surrogate mother recovering from a broken hip and arm.
    We are now approaching autumn here in England which, apart from spring is my favourite time of year. I find it is a good time to focus on nature continuing to visit my local park to see the tree colours change and see and hear the different birds.
    Enjoy your lovely spring and take care.
    🙂🌼🌺🦅💐🌿🍂🍁🍀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely to hear from you Margaret. Sorry to hear about those weekly hospital visits. Life can be a bit of a struggle, especially recovering from major operations at that age. I hope your friend is doing okay.
      Enjoy your Autumn, such a nice time of the year as nature cools down. Here we’re entering spring but the weather’s still cold and very changeable. Still, I’m looking forward to the onset of warmer days. Take care. 🌸❤️

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  21. When I was young, I read Sherlock Holmes books, and one thing the character said to Watson always stuck with me. “You see, but you do not observe.” I aspired to be more like Sherlock. 🙂 I confess, it’s hard to pay attention to everything but I do my best. 😀 Like that amazing yellow tree against that glorious blue sky you’ve posted up there. *swoon*

    Love you, my sweet, I hope you’ve been well! xoxox ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh, I used to read Sherlock Holmes too Ness. And I do remember that quote, it’s so true isn’t it. I try and be mindful these days but sometimes distractions take over.
      I’ve been mostly well though my friend. Ups and downs you know. Hope you’re well too. Love and hugs xx 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you’ve been mostly well!

        Yes, I do know about those ups and downs. We’re in a down cycle right now, unfortunately. Hopefully, things will get better soon! I remain optimistic. 🙂

        Love and hugs! xoxox

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  22. Hi Miriam, oh my god, I got so excited when reading this post! I absolutely love HYBPA!!! I have been watching it from overseas ever since I left Australia, and it´s the only way I enjoy keeping up with the news nowadays. Don´t you just love that witty banter between Tom and Sam? It cracks me up every time:)

    On a different note, I agree wholeheartedly to what you are describing in your beautiful and uplifting post – yes, being aware and becoming more aware of what´s right in front of us, of the many gifts that we are given each day and moment, is crucial and a challenge for our minds at the same time. And I concur “Paying attention to the details can sometimes take a bit of effort. It’s a bit like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly.” Yes! Thanks for this uplifting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gypsy (is that what I call you?) I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and got a buzz out of my reference to HYBPA. I agree with you, it’s the only way to keep up with the news and I live here! So much banter between them that always makes me laugh. Glad you can still watch it overseas. Thank you for your very kind words to my post. Bring grateful for the small things and aware of what’s in front of us is definitely one of the keys to living mindfully. Hope you’re having a great week. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much, Miriam, wishing you a fantastic and mindful week also:) I am glad that Drew introduced you on his blog, and can´t wait to stay more up to date with what´s happening in my beloved Australia through your insightful posts 🙂 xx from Spain, Maria Elena

        Liked by 1 person

  23. I mean…what were we JUST talking about! paying attention to all that’s around us…
    I’m smiling. Love when special coincidences like this happen.

    Gorgeous post. That birdie is a superstar
    Xxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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