A Focused Attention Activity
“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
Before the Internet, email, text messaging, and social media, people traditionally stayed in touch by sending letters. This might sound really outdated, but it wasn’t too long ago that writing letters was an ordinary way to communicate long distance with friends and loved ones.
Writing letters is still my go-to way to communicate with the special people in my life, but I am also a fan of today’s technology because it most certainly keeps us more closely in touch with each other than ever before. The problem is, there is just too much information passing our screens for us to take it all in, process it, and be present for it, one piece at a time.
I believe all of this incoming information is a main reason multitasking has become such an essential part of our everyday experience. But, as important as it is to be able to multitask, it is more important to practice Focused Attention—really being mindful and aware of the moment, giving the task or person in front of us our undivided attention. I ask, if it is not worth being right here with the person or task, then why would it be worth our time in the end?
I am very aware that being with one person, place, or thing is really difficult. We are conditioned to be all over the place. So, to begin living our lives in the present moment, I teach the practice of Focused Attention. To begin this practice, I suggest choosing just one or two areas in your day where you do only one task with your complete attention.
The idea that we can spend every moment of our day fully present might sound impossible to us, so that is why I suggest starting with just a couple of areas. This allows you to experience the feeling of being here and now and notice the effect it has on your life.
One excellent practice for giving a task your undivided attention is writing a meaningful letter:
- Choose a friend or family member to be the recipient of your letter.
- Sit down with a pad and a pen (maybe even some pretty stationery) and prepare to handwrite your letter.
- Repeat your Sacred Mantra a few times to connect your mind with your heart.
- Place all of your attention on your letter’s recipient. What stands out about that person? Good memories? Shared accomplishments? Commonalities?
- Thoughtfully reflect upon what you want to share with that person about yourself. What feelings do you wish to elicit? Love, support, humor, etc.?
- Take a deep breath and begin your letter. Write slowly and thoughtfully, giving purpose to your words. Don’t worry about making a mistake. Just write whatever comes to heart.
- If you get stuck on what to write next, simply take a few deep breaths and repeat your Sacred Mantra.
- When you experience a deep knowing that you have written all you have to share, stamp and address your envelope and take it to the nearest post office or mailbox.
Unlike an email or text that will get stored away or deleted, the heartfelt words you have taken the time to handwrite and mail will beautifully be appreciated for a very long time! Try it and let me know how it was for you!