It's a week ago and I am accompanying my youngest brother to the airport to fly back to Ohio. Since he is an inexperienced air traveler (last flew 25 years ago), I take the helm. Big sis walks up to the kiosk to print out his boarding pass. Too late, I realize I didn't use the kiosk that allows for baggage to be checked.
We walk up to the airline desk. I learn that I have gone to the international check in, not the domestic. We trot over to the domestic line and get his baggage checked.
We move through security and locate my brother's departure gate. We find the last seats on a busy Saturday morning and plop down til his boarding call. I pull a magazine out of my purse and begin reading an article in my Utne Reader entitled "A Nation Distracted."
I read how our constant state of motion "makes us less and less able to see, hear, and comprehend what's relevant and permanent . . ." As I continue reading, I realize I wasn't paying attention when I first walked into the airport and used the wrong kiosk, then walked up to the International check in instead of domestic. No harm done, but it occurs to me that under a different set of circumstances not paying attention can create more serious problems.
My brother's boarding call sounds and we say goodbye. As he boards, I call up another sibling who will be picking up our brother. My sibling chats away with me as I make my way out of the airport into the parking garage. Distracted by our phone conversation, I walk into the east end of the parking garage instead of the west end, where my car is located. So far I'm striking out on my ability to focus.
I do find my car, exit the garage, and hit the uncrowded Interstate for a pleasant drive home in the sunny springlike weather. And I am determined to finish reading the article on distraction when I return home.
I reflect on the morning at the airport and can't help but feel disconcerted to realize how easily I can pass through day to day life and miss the obvious. My attention was fragmented with my brother, as part of me was focused on several hours ahead, instead of being fully in the present.
From reading the article, I learn that I must manage my attention. Meditation is the recommended practice to train the mind towards a deeper level of attentiveness. I may not be meditating in the sit still, breathing mode, but I can, however, resolve to be more alert and observant in my immediate surroundings. It's about noticing.
The Universe bopped me on the head last week, thankfully in a safe way. Intuitive whispers would not have worked! Since then I have slowed down my mental accelerator in order to be more in the present. I notice that I listen better when sellers call me about their properties, with positive results! I feel greater calm as well. It pays to manage my attention.
Fast forward to this weekend . . . I find myself browsing in one of those independent bookstores filled with sensory wonders, up in a North Carolina mountain town. Spirit taps me on the shoulder as I pick up a book entitled Seven Whispers, by Christina Baldwin. Yep, this one's for me. A just-in-time resource that falls into my lap because I'm paying attention.
What are the "Seven Whispers?" Maintain peace of mind. Move at the pace of guidance. Practice certainty of purpose. Surrender to surprise. Ask for what you need and offer what you can. Love the folks in front of you. Return to the world.
You'll hear more about these seven whispers in upcoming blog posts. In the meantime I return to the first whisper, playing with the kind of breathing that invites peace of mind.
[Photo Credit: Jonathon Lonsdale]