Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

Simone Weil

For me this is one of this little gems that describes something you know about but may never have fastened onto.  I have several friends for whom this sentiment holds true.  When you are with them, you know they are with you.  Which might sound weird, but in this manic world of multitasking and electronic interruptions, distractions and temptations, stopping and simply being with another person can be a rare and magical experience.

Giving somebody your full attention, is about being totally present with and for them.  It is a gift we often worry we don't have time to give; yet the gift is time. It's not expensive and it's not beyond our reach. We can all do it, but sometimes I think we have forgotten how.

Like we might be talking on the phone as well as scanning a website or checking for emails.  Or sitting at dinner and checking our phones!  I really try not to do these things - but you often see couples at dinner with them both totally 'absent' checking phones, messaging, texting, or I don't know what. Like being with a person is clearly not enough - we need to be achieving six things in these 20 minutes not the one.

To be present for another human being - to listen, to look them in the eye, answer responsively and not just "ah huh, mmmm, yeah". What a gift.  When I am with a person who is with me - I feel like the most important person in the world, for them, for now. I hope I can give that gift back.


11 comments:

  1. A wonderfully insightful post.

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  2. Thank you for this lovely post. It's SO true and so important.

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  3. A wonderful reminder to be present in all things....especially with another person....thank you for this post, Fiona!

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  4. Amen...

    the other day, a man on his phone and a woman texting walked in front of my car at a stoplight. It seemed they were just crossing the street at the same time until the man suddenly turned left and the woman then realized they were meant to go that way and they turned together. I was surprised when I realized then that they were walking "together"... but were they?

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  5. I've always said that the most valuable thing you can offer someone is your time and attention and you have summed up my feelings about this so well.

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  6. I agree, what an insightful post. I was just discussing this the other day with my partner - how in this information age with social networking we are placed in a mild state of 'OCD' (obsessive compulsive disorder) in which we are constantly checking. Studies have shown people check emails and text messages from 10 to 100 times a day, if not more. And if they are not getting messages they will send messages out in order to receive them, to feel 'loved'. It's so important, isn't it - to get out and actually touch someone, sit together in the breeze, engage in non-electronic communication - a dying thing, it seems... teenagers these days are growing into adults with a whole new way of communicating, which we have no idea what an impact will be in the future...

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  7. A message for me from above thanks Fiona. I am often distracted by my thoughts and peripheral things when engaging with another person. I need to keep this post in mind.

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  8. You know, I just don't know how this reply slipped by me - apologies all round.

    The sentiment echoes for all of us aI think as we become aware of just how crazy the electronic demands upon us are - and our electronic desires too. I shall try to be more present and less distracted. Plan A.

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  9. This post comes to my attention at just the right time - when I've definitely been too distracted and not present enough! Thanks for writing this, F.

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I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.