Pay Attention. Tidal Waves Ahead.

Pay attention. In the distractions in our daily life, we often forget the power we have amidst all that grit & glitter. It’s so easy to miss. How much just focusing on the singular can impact the whole.
My to-do list is always long, but I felt the pull this past weekend to spend time absorbing art at LACMA for the @Freemuseumday! I almost missed this sign! How fitting!
“It was you!” I froze immediately. Nothing good usually follows those words. I fixed my eyes on the speaker serenely, primarily due to location: I happened to be in my space, my Studio. I yelped & hugged my addresser in recognition. I had only met her once but you’ve seen her countless times in one of the 90s most iconic shows. For me, it was in a little theatre in North Hollywood, where I had gone to support my friend’s stage performance. In the climax of the play, an audience member had a seizure. She collapsed forward into the arms of the woman now standing before me. Without hesitation, she gently yet firmly cradled this ailing stranger in her arms. You could feel the panic and awkward tension rising in the room, immobile from fear, lack of control. Guiding softly, she told us that the seizure victim would not remember anything when she recovers. The only thing we can do is be calm and relax. Despite my urge to leap up, rush over, and handle the situation – as soon as 911 was called – I closed my eyes, breathed out my own panic, and focused my entire being on holding space for this person. Sending her loving thoughts: you’re okay, you’re safe, you’re loved. Shhhhh…over & over again. With my eyes closed, I felt the room change; the energy turned from code red to a sacred space of peace. As she came to, she indeed did not remember what had happened and just as soon the room collectively pressed ‘pause’, play was hit. The paramedics arrived, announcements I don’t remember were made, the seizure victim was taken to a nearby hospital, and people left. As I sat their processing everything for a minute, the woman – the one now standing before me – who had guided everyone through this scary event, sat trembling next to me with people showering her with questions about how she knew what to do and thanking her. Beautifully enough, she had played a character, who suffered from seizures, in a movie once. As the rock of so many other people in crisis, I knew how overwhelmed she must’ve felt so I took her hand and held it gently, and whispered to her, “Thank you. You did a good thing.” After checking on my friend, I walked out and ran into her again. She seemed so familiar but as I let that thought flutter out of my lips I forgot. I wrote about the experience in my journal and tried to describe it to people but couldn’t articulate how it impacted me. And here she stood in front of me smiling. “I still remember you. I remember seeing you close your eyes and how the room followed. And it was like a tidal wave.” What simple intention can do.

February is upon us already and as we frantically assess our action against our new year goals, it’s easy to wonder: Didn’t we just begin? And yet, what have we gotten done? As a person who used to revel in the mastery of her to-do list while running full steam ahead with a 80-to-100 hour/week consultancy career, I know the delicious trap of hard work and accomplishment. It makes perfect sense. Women are notorious for multitasking, and studies have shown that women are better than men (source) at this. I’m probably whitening my teeth, listening to music, and having a conversation while writing at this very moment. But that which is our greatest strength can be our greatest weakness : multitasking leads to overcommitment, being overworked, and not being fully present to a task or experience at hand. You can be fully living but are you fully alive? It’s easy to dull ourselves for a less conscious life when our focus is so fragmented. The feedback loop can be so damaging when we’re using how hard we are working instead of how we are working, or having the experience, because then results (aka accomplishments) naturally become our primary method of validation.

I stopped whatever I was doing while writing and focused on connecting with you. The stilted quality of my thoughts melted into a flow. My experience in that little theater bridged with the power of intention that can easily fall by the wayside in the hustle. What perfect timing to observe how we’re attending to our lives as we begin February. Take a moment to step back and see how we could be more present with ourselves & in our lives. If you’ve achieved your goals, it’s too easy to quickly move along to the next one without relishing how you felt and what you learned from getting from point A to B. If you haven’t achieved your goals (YET) this is the moment that can easily become one of frustration, judgement, and forgoing. Instead, it could be the opportunity to assess, learn, collaborate, and work smarter. Set your intention for the most mundane parts of your day to the most complex. Observe instead of see. Listen instead of hear. Communicate instead of talk. Taste instead of consume. You’ll be surprised by how much you actually get done and even more surprised by how much you’ve enjoyed getting there. In world where we control nothing, no one can take away our intention. How ripples turn into tidal waves.

This is the lush greenery that greeted me on my hike! Take time to go outside! 

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