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Attention! Are you present?

This moment is the only moment. Will you be here for it/

Sculpture by Lebanese artist, Nadim Karam

Science tells us that most of have our heads elsewhere about half the time. That's why I’m taking my third virtual course in Japanese psychology with the TōDō Institute. This one is called “Paying Attention.” Each day we get a small assignment—something to notice. This is me too much of the time. (Sculpture by Lebanese artist, Nadim Karam).

First day assignment was “seek out the color blue.” Piece of cake. I often look for a particular color when I’m out walking. I suggest to my color clients that they take their palettes on their walks to train their eye by trying to match the hues on each stick. My artist friend (and book illustrator!), Kim Murton, sees all sorts of things when she walks her dog. I love her opulent vision of our Spring moment. And she's not even stoned.

Artist Kim Murton walks the dog.

Day two. "Look for shadows. Photograph a few that interest you." This was a lot of fun because the day was bright and I found (made) some cool shadows.

Author Joy Overstreet's shadow on stairs

Day three. "Look for connections." Oh my goodness…where to begin. Physical, mental, emotional, visual, environmental, causal…everything is connected to everything else. I especially loved the artful connections on the side of this brand new Portland garbage truck. Some designer must have said to themselves, who says a garbage truck can't be a thing of beauty! Let mine be one that pleases the eye for a change.

I mean this thing is ship-shape!

New garbage truck in Portland, OR

Lego Statue of Liberty

Day four. "Set a timer to buzz you every 55 minutes. Stop and become aware of what you’re attending to—are you present to it or is your mind elsewhere?" Uh… not so good. I got so engrossed in editing an essay about the Lego Statue of Liberty I built last week that I forgot to reset the timer after just one ding.

If you or a family member is into Legos, this is a complex and fascinating build. How the designer created the folds of her robes, the movement and bend of her right leg!

The photo doesn't do her justice. She stands 17" tall.

How are YOU doing at paying attention?

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