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The Art of Paying Attention

The Art of Paying Attention

 

The Art of Paying Attention encourages you to focus on one area of your body each week for fifty-two weeks. Don't worry, this won't require you to take notes or keep a journal. Instead, you'll use a cue such as the phone ringing, washing your hands or pausing before you eat to pay attention to a particular part of your body.

This simple approach to being more mindful helps ground you in the moment as you pay attention to your body and give thanks for the gifts it provides.

While this subtle change in your mindset may seem small, it is incredibly powerful in the way it honors your body and reminds you to give thanks for the gifts you have been given.


This e-book series is available monthly in four-week increments.

Volume 1 - weeks 1-4 with a short prompt each week for the following areas: feet, elbows, tongue, veins.
Volume 2 - weeks 5-8 with a short prompt each week for the following areas: scars, imagination, rectum, fingernails.

Volume 3 - weeks 9-12 with a short prompt each week for the following areas: waist, skin, bladder and empathy.

 

Available exclusively in e-book format at Amazon:

Volume 1 - http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Paying-Attention-ebook/dp/B00CD56AOU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366910041&sr=8-1&keywords=the+art+of+paying+attention

Volume 2 - http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Paying-Attention-ebook/dp/B00CO6QMF0

Volume 3 -  http://www.amazon.com/Art-Paying-Attention-Weeks-ebook/dp/B00DFCHR10/ref=la_B005HB7EEW_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371422275&sr=1-1

 

 

This week pay attention to your feet

Sturdy, stubby, curvy, long, bony, plump. Just as our faces are all different, so are our feet.


We stand on them for hours, ignore them when they cry out in pain and abuse them by shoving them into shoes that are too small or too tight.


I know many people who dislike their feet. They describe them as ugly and gross. Say it isn’t so!

Our feet help keep us balanced. Take a minute and stand up. Lean your body weight onto your toes. Now on the balls of your feet. Now on your heels. Feel how your balance shifts depending on how you stand.


Flex your toes, then point them up to the ceiling. Feel the pull in the bottom of your foot and then in your calf muscle.


All our nerves have endings in our feet. If you’ve ever seen a Reflexology guide, it pinpoints where each of these nerve endings are on your foot. Different sections correspond with areas of your body. If you have a headache, rub a particular spot on your foot and it should dissipate. The same is true for a stomach ache or to increase circulation.


Our feet are often an afterthought. We cover them with socks and shoes and pretty much forget about them. But, if you’ve ever stubbed your toe, you know how sensitive they can be.


This week, pay attention to how your bare feet feel when they’re gliding through the carpet. How does it feel different from walking on tile or grass? When you are taking a shower, notice how the water feels as it hits the top of your feet and toes. How does the smooth texture of the bottom of the shower or tub feel against your feet?


Elevate your feet on a pillow sometime this week for half an hour, then pay attention to how they feel afterward.


Do you like wearing socks, going barefoot, wearing slippers? Do you push and pull and shove to get your shoes on or do you slip them on with ease?


Do you kick your shoes off immediately when you come home from work? Switch to sneakers or sandals?


Take a moment and examine your feet. Feel the texture of the skin, notice the length of your toenails. Are your heels rough and dry? What about the spaces between your toes. Dare to grab a magnifying glass and explore!


What kind of sensations course through your body when your feet are touched? Do you get jumpy and giggly, pull away with shyness or embarrassment, get a warm tingly feeling in your gut?


Feet are more than a way to transport us from place to place. They help keep us balanced, are incredibly sensitive and come on, the pinky toe, one of the cutest things ever!


Pay attention to your feet this week and remember to give thanks for the gifts they give you.


This week pay attention to your empathy

Compassion, sympathy and empathy are often lumped into the same mold; however, they are very different creatures. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine what it is like to be them at any given moment. The key is that you have to suspend your own beliefs, dreams, filters and pre-conceived ideas and instead understand that the other person has a different set of beliefs, dreams, filters and pre-conceived ideas. Only then can you attempt to have empathy for someone else.

This is a big challenge for most people. It is easy enough to picture what we might do if we were in the situation another person is in, but the story changes radically when we are required to take into consideration how the person got to where they are and what decisions they made along the way based on their belief system.


It is human nature to judge, both yourself and others. When you employ the grace that comes with empathy, you need to set aside judgment. Not many people know how to do this, and even more are not willing to learn. They believe there are rules that need to be followed, life is black and white, there is no gray area. Empathy believes in gray areas.


As you are going about your normal routine this week, pay attention to how you react when you see someone on the side of the road holding a sign asking for help. Do you look away? Do you attempt to put yourself in their shoes? Do you think they should find a job and stop blocking the sidewalk? What thoughts and feelings arise?


Closer to home, when you look at yourself in the mirror as you are getting ready in the morning, do you make a checklist in your mind about all the negative attributes you see when looking at your reflection? Can you empathize with the person you see? Suspend judgment for a few minutes and try to understand how this person got to where they are today because of their belief system and choices they’ve made.


When you encounter folks at the grocery store, take a brief moment to think about what their lives are like. Are they hurrying? Do they have kids at their heels? Do they take half an hour picking out a piece of fruit? Does their cart block the aisle while they’re deciding what kind of potato chips to buy? Reflect for a moment on what feelings were spurred as you surveyed these people.


Did it occur to you that the person hurrying may have a sick father at home that needs their attention and they just stopped by the store to pick up something for dinner for their family before heading over to see their dad?


Did the thought cross your mind that the person picking out a piece of fruit may have just been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing their first chemotherapy treatment tomorrow and their oncologist advised them not to eat fresh fruit because of the pesticides, so this would be the last piece of fresh fruit they would eat for quite some time?


I’m reminded daily that we don’t know each other’s stories in full. We know the parts people are willing to share with us. And, with strangers, we don’t know anything except what our eyes tell us.

Empathy calls us to suspend our own beliefs and imagine what it would be like to live another person’s life with their set of values. Only then can we truly begin to try and understand.


Pay attention to your empathy this week and remember to give thanks for the gifts it gives you.


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