Initially I resisted developing an editorial calendar but I trusted the person who suggested it and decided to do it. Just now when I checked it, I felt excitement! It indicates that the second Friday of the month (which this month is actually the third Friday), is for paying attention to attention. If you’ve read exploring the mystery in the past, you know that attention is one of my favorite topics.


Over the years, we’ve examined the importance of paying attention, but have we ever looked at what gets in the way of paying attention?


I discovered, in an analytical session no less, something that has undoubtedly  interfered with my ability to pay attention and though it feels a bit risky to disclose my shortcomings this way, my Enneagram 2 part is urging me on.


It all began when my analyst responded to something I said with these words: “I’m not disagreeing with you but I don’t think it is the only way.”


You are undoubtedly wondering what we were talking about. I can’t tell you that, because I honestly can’t remember right now, but even if I could, that’s not the point.   The point is when I heard her saying “not the only way” – my mind instantaneously began to berate me:


“Oh you did it again! You rushed and presented something in a black and white way! Why do you do that? Why are you not more articulate and able to speak to the complexity of life?”


Soon I realized that I had no idea what we had been discussing, nor could I remember what else she offered. 


The lesson: When I respond to what someone says to me by criticizing myself, I will not be paying attention to the other person.


So, for me, what gets in the way of paying attention is criticizing myself. I was no longer present to her interpretation and this is ironic because I’m paying her to give me these precious tidbits of wisdom! When we think about anything other than what the person is sharing, we are not, in the strictest sense, paying attention.


What gets in your way of paying attention? What do you tend to think of when someone else is speaking. Or does something else get in the way of you paying attention? I’d love to know.  Please comment below!


Does anyone miss the CLUE section? Do You like it when I describe the image?


Thanks for exploring the mystery – Nicky Mendenhall



5 Responses

  1. Self-criticism gets in the way of everything! When that voice takes over our thoughts we will pay attention to nothing–or anyone–else. So, I think the way out is to pay attention to that voice. Where is it coming from? Really coming from? It probably has very old, strong roots and it will not let go (or stop coming back) if we don’t pay attention and give it some love. Be compassionate to that voice and know that it is our scared young self just trying to hold on. We can’t will it, or criticize it, away.

    • Diane – I LOVE your message. Self criticism gets in the way of everything! Well said.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I liked the clue sessions especially when they pertained to the blog and I like it when you describe the picture.

    I notice I get distracted by different things like reading or having the TV playing. Sometimes I just get lost in my own thoughts.

    • Hi Nolan!
      Thanks for the feedback. I liked both the CLUE & image description too so will try and do both again.

      Getting lost in your own thoughts – that sounds like a creative time for you.

      Distraction is a factor for me too. I start to do something and then do something else.

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