The Power of Attention

Energy flows where attention goes.
Mindful living comes back to this treasured adage time and time again, and with good reason; it's true. Whether we're settling into our daily yoga practice, brewing our morning cup of coffee, or playing with our children, attention is what revitalizes our experiences, adding a sense of vibrancy and newness to our daily lives. The words of the beloved Irish poet John O'Donohue come to mind:
"May you be present in what you do. / May you never become lost in the bland absences."
With the holidays in full swing, it's easy to go on auto-pilot. (Guilty as charged here.) Between last-minute preparations and tying up all the loose ends, keeping our awareness on the present moment can be tricky when the mind would rather wander elsewhere. For me, this manifests as an ever-expanding to-do list that plays on a loop in my head, laying out everything I still need to get done before my kids begin their two-week winter break from school

Then I stop and repeat my new mantra for when my mind runs away with itself: Step away. This gentle reminder nudges my awareness away from "the bland absences" of everyday life and back to the present; the sound of the music playing in my headphones, the feel of my dog's head on my lap.

This time of year, holiday shopping is perhaps the easiest area to lose sight of ourselves. We often get caught up in the frenzied gift-buying. Why? We want to show our friends and family just how much we love them. But reach back into your favorite holiday memories for a moment. Chances are it's not heaps of toys that stand out. Rather, it's laughing with your cousins or helping your grandmother in the kitchen. Simply put, it was the attention you received from those you love.

Attention directed inward is equally important. Meditation is the most effective way to fill your own cup, which, in turn, better equips you to give more fully to others. In that spirit, we invite you to take part in our latest meditation series underway in Chicago's West Loop. It just might re-center your attention for the holiday home stretch.

Marianne Hayes is thrilled to join the breathe bar team as a guest contributor. She's a longtime freelance writer with a passion for spiritual growth and inner life.

Editor's note:  We connected with Marianne after we read this great article of her's about meditation.  It offers some of the best guidance we've seen about starting a meditation practice, and sticking with it, from a perspective that we can all relate to.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, we tracked Marianne down, shared our stories of meditation and wellness, found a kindred spirit, and here we are!  We're grateful to have Marianne as our first guest contributor to breathe bar!

Do you have meditation and wellness stories to share? 
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Marianne with her girls and their dog!
Sylvia Maldonado