Ironically, as a little girl, I never liked this question because the adult asking it always sounded accusatory or irritated. While discouraging growing up, I realized the well-intentioned adults were attempting to teach me the power of being aware. Unfortunately, the life lesson was diluted by the usage of the word “paying”. For me, inherent in its meaning, lies an implied debt, consequence, or sacrifice that I felt I needed to settle before being able to choose what I actually wanted to do. I have learned that words can be used as a powerful tool to affirm, empower, or disempower. For example, who can recall being admonished for not “paying enough attention” to the mindless household chore or activity you were being forced to finish? An empowering reframe of this question would be, what are you giving your attention?
As you allow this question to amplify in your mind, become conscious of what you currently give your attention to daily. Remember physics 101, where attention goes, energy flows. Meaning, be careful what you focus on because it will expand or intensify. Did you realize your ability to focus is now a commodity as society has moved into the digital age? Reason this with me.
How many times have you opened your cell phone to do something and gotten distracted or forgot what you initially wanted to do? That is not accidental, it’s causal. Billions of dollars are spent to collect data by advertisers and marketers hoping to hijack your attention to sell you goods and services. Media programs also subconsciously influence your political ideologies and social norms. However, the most important programming that you need to examine and decide whether you want to keep, upgrade, or uninstall it from your psyche comes from early childhood conditioning resulting from family dynamics, emotional trauma, and cultural traditions. Learning to commit to an awareness practice, such as mindfulness meditation can help you to stand guard at the doorway of your mind. By incorporating just five to ten minutes of quiet reflection into your day, you begin to see your life with clarity. As you practice awareness it becomes an antidote against aimlessly drifting through your life according to the standards of others.
As powerful as awareness is, it is simply your ability to observe without judgement your internal state (mind, thoughts, feelings) and external physical environment. Remember the term “without judgment” – it is vital to this practice, as well as self-compassion. Awareness is the first principle you learn in many personal growth teachings. It is understood that you can’t change or heal what you are unwilling to see. Being aware teaches you to see your complete life as “it is” rather than what you think it “should be”.
Awareness is a skill that you can choose to master as you sift through the noise of society to self-determine what standards, values, and beliefs aligns with the vision you have for your life. In the age of escapism, this is not easy to do. Most people have not discovered that they are not powerless in their lives. Embodying awareness helps you to tap into the co-creative process with the God-consciousness of your choice and begin to create a life you desire instead of unconsciously choosing to be a bystander. Through awareness you stop reacting to the conditions and circumstances in your life and you start responding. Over time, you will discover that ultimately, the quality of your life is determined by the daily choices you make, and choice is a function of expanded awareness.
Tamara Speid is a heart-centered revolutionary, guide, and experience artist devoted to empowering you to awaken from the mindset of struggle by experiencing a life filled with beauty. Follow Tamara on IG @thespeidexperience or visit her online at www.thespeidexperience.com