participation

Distractions. Multi Coloured Squares in Mid Air Gathering To Form Head.

Distractions

What’s the next thing?

How can I entertain myself? Where’s the next mindless stream of drivel I can distract myself with? What do I need to turn off my brain?

In this world of ever-present distractions, it can be challenging to live in the present moment—to exist and to be who we really are (see Exist).

The world seems designed to ensure that we always have sufficient distraction to never have to be alone with ourselves. Why is that? Have modern people become so lazy that they can’t bear the thought of reflection? Have we become so distracted that we’re not able to spend time with our own thoughts?

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Listen. Friends having a conversation.

Listen

On its surface, listening is not that hard. Someone is speaking, we hear and comprehend the words, and we gain an understanding of what he or she is conveying.

It’s that third bit where people often falter.

To really understand what a person is saying, we need to consider the context, the person’s background or history, and any emotional subtext. Also, we have to observe. Is the person’s speech rushed? Are they animated? Are they louder or higher-pitched that usual? For some, all of these things come naturally, but others barely hear the words, never mind consider the subtleties.

In interacting with other people, it can often be difficult to ascertain their points of view, their motives, or their agenda (if they have one). However, with an awareness of certain aspects of that person’s physical and emotional responses, it is much easier to know where they’re coming from. When speaking with someone, it can be revealing to pay close attention to what they’re doing with their arms or hands, the way they’re breathing, and any changes in the color of their face or the intensity of their eyes. It is often the case that these attributes can communicate more than words.

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Exist. Enjoying beauty in nature

Exist

You exist, every second of every day.

What does that mean to you?

What is the nature of your existence? What is the impact of your presence in the world?

We are an inherent part of whatever situation we find ourselves in and are responsible for how interesting (or uninteresting) it is. We can make life exciting, inspiring, and fun—we just have to remember to exist, in a meaningful way, wherever we are.

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Woman volunteering at community soup kitchen

Action

Walking the walk and talking the talk.

Do you act on what is important to you, or are your values more of a feeling?

I write a lot about values, thoughts, and emotions, but what does all this mean in terms of how we interact with the world? Does it translate into a foundation for our actions?

What we do on a day-to-day basis matters. Taking the extra step when it’s consistent with our worldview or values is important.

In our busy society, we are constantly working the margins of time management. We try to make every second matter so that we can add to our stock of available time (see time). We get irritated if we lose a few seconds at a stoplight or if we have a slow driver in front of us. With this mind-set, it can be hard to take advantage of unscheduled opportunities to act on our values and to step up when we see a need.

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Boredom. Lying on the couch and channel surfing

Boredom

I’m soooo bored. . .

What a weird thing to say.

With such an interesting world to live in and so many avenues to capture our attention, how can any of us be bored?

Some might say that boredom is not high up on the list of issues we have to address as a society. But consider that boredom can be related to obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, laziness, bad posture, and, worst of all, failure to be in the moment.

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