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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Attention (2)

Yesterday I spoke of the great gift of attention that writing this blog has given me. Today I'd like to say a bit more about attention.

Linda Stone, a very high-priced tech expert with background in both Apple and Microsoft, has looked at the phenomenon of "multi-tasking." I dare say every one of us considers ourselves proficient in the art of so-called multi-tasking. We think it is what we have to do to deal with the many reponsibilities of our modern lives. Take a second and review the tasks you, yourself, normally handle all at the same time. You've likely got a whole long list of these overlapping things that you're assuming keep you as productive as you need to be.

Ms Stone, however, challenges this notion. And she challenges it so well that I'm rethinking some of my own attitudes and practices. Calling it "Continuous Partial Attention" or CPA, she says this is one more way we're retraining our own brains to work, or not, as the case may be. By using all these techniques, mostly technological, we've shortened our attention spans, forced ourselves to need constant stimulation and novelty.

A couple of major down sides: we're losing our ability to truly focus at anything other than a superficial level and we're bathing our brains in a constant stream of adrenaline in response to this perpetual state of "on alert." Believe me, these are NOT good.

One statement Ms Stone makes that I like very much: "I believe attention is the most powerful tool of the human spirit". I'm going to try to nurture this amazing gift and tool I've been given using some of the things I know will help. Things like meditation, nature, exercise, silence, turning off my communicators; you may recognize these elements of "sabbath."

Check out the linked article and see what you think. Are you suffering from too much CPA?

Posted by Marion


  1. Thanks, Marion, for the 'heads up' in Linda's article. I can see alot of myself here and need to relieve myself of the clutter of CPA !
    I want to live in the moment and control my 'monkey brain' to develop the spiritual disciplines needed to deepen my relationship with God. Your writings remind me to practise 'sabboth' and find 'sanctuary' ..sounds like I've used all the current 'catch-words' .... Keep us posted on your other Blogs. Yep, you are a 'Green' !!

  2. Your "word" prompted me to think of another not so new word. The word is "engage".
    I have been called out of retirement to return to the Funeral home for a specific purpose for a few weeks. The job I am involved in requires interaction with others. As I went about my duties I noticed that there were a number of other directors not involved in this particular effort. I questioned as to why the call to arms was so urgent that they had to bring back this old timer. The answer surprised me. I was told that the directors not involved had a hard time engaging with clients. One did not understand the "handshake" that we use as greeting and farewell. Others were to detached and this came across in the conversations with the clients. These directors were of the text message, e-mail, cell phone type and seemingly had difficulty "engaging" with others on a face to face basis for an extended period. This caused me to thing of our invovement with the mission at hand. Without being fully engaged with those we seek to minister to and minister with, our work could lack the depth of quality necessary for the gospel to bear fruit. Christ seemed to move in and out of peoples lives so freely it is hard to understand his impact at times, but he was fuuly engaged in live and in living; fully engaged in the lives he came in contact with. His ministry was not just for the moment. This caused him pain at times, disappointement at times but I have to think that he gained great joy in seeing lives changed and set free from the fears of the day. We may encounter pain and disappointement but also unimaginable joy when we follow his mission.
    For those who remember the original Star Trek, at the end of each episode, the herioc Captain Kirk sat in his chair, stared resolutely ahead, pointed forward and said ENGAGE. When this happened we Trekkers knew that we were moving forward, no turning back. Perhaps we need to fully ENGAGE with the mission ahead.

  3. Don, I enjoyed your reflections on the word "engage. Your Star Trek memories of Captain Kirk work very well there.

    Your description of the "distant" funeral directors is surprising to me, and yet I have to admit that due to natural shyness or other reasons, I too can be distant at times. For most of us, too often there is a tendency to engage with people we meet only at a very shallow level. We are polite but not really "present." We respond in the same way we might with the person behind the cash register in a drug store in some unknown city.

    Some of us shared this past weekend with Kris Judd, who has a remarkable ability to be really interested in anyone she meets, and to show that interest no matter how casual the encounter may be. It is a skill worth emulating.


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