The chill is setting in where I live in the high desert mountains. It’s soup time.
While I don’t do a lot of cooking, I find making stews and soups deeply satisfying—especially (and only) when I bring my full self to the endeavor. Today, chopping onion, garlic, celery, and carrots into little piles, with their different colors and textures, enlivened the sensations in my body and aroused curiosity. What human beings were involved in the process of planting, growing, harvesting, and moving these earthy products to my kitchen? Some of the local farmers I know, but the lentils and spices aren’t from this region. Dropping into my heart, I experienced a connection to this long stream of beings—known and unknown—and to the many ways our lives intersect in this big ocean of life.
There’s an irony here. Paying attention, being present to the seemingly ordinary tasks of life is so simple, and it nourishes our immediate experience. But we all know too well how easy and seemingly natural it is to be distracted, to place our attention on everything else but what’s here, now.
The point is that where we focus our attention has big consequences for our inner experience. For example, have you noticed that approaching a situation or task as just another thing “to get done,” has a way of deadening something within? Repeat that same cycle again and again, and it’s easy to see how the inner deadening builds up . . . and then feels normal.
On the other hand, perhaps you’ve noticed the immediacy that comes with focusing on the experience in the present moment. It leads to a deeper sense of being anchored here and now, of being connected with yourself and with life. Thankfully, as evolving humans, we have more choice in this matter than we might realize: with awareness, intention, and practice we can choose where we put our attention.
Exercise: Notice what supports you in shifting your attention from distraction to immediate focus. What supports you in bringing your full self to the moment? What supports you in remembering to do so? If you like, try this while making soup! You can download my free recipe here.
I recommend practicing this Noticing and Shifting experience at least once a day, for 5 minutes or longer, every day for the next 30 days—see what you notice. I am practicing with you.