Thursday, March 31, 2011

pay attention: a river of stones

A few days before my darling dad passed away, he said to me, "Pay attention day by day."

And like a good daughter, I've been trying.

During the month of January, I participated in a river of stones, International Small Stones Writing Month.  A small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention.  People all across this wide world participated in writing and recording their own small stones for one month.  Seasoned poets, beginning writers, and all those willing to give up a moment of their day to pay attention, participated.

Following Small Stones Writing month, Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita, the creators of the river of stones project,complied an anthology of small stones in the book, pay attention: a river or stones.

I wasn't sure if I should submit something for publishing in the book. But a few nights before the cutoff, I was on the phone with my brother, Scott, who encouraged me to take the leap and just do it.  With any risk, there is fear, and I had grown to admire not only the wisdom of the editors, Fiona and Kaspalita, but also their kindness and encouragement.  What if I didn't make the cut?

The river of stones book

Only an inner ear infection could have suppressed the shouting of joy (and then bragging) that followed after finding out that the small stone I had submitted was going to be included in the book.  For days, everything that came out of my mouth to my husband and kids sounded something like this:

"Hey, could you please set the table for dinner?  The soon-to-be published-poet desires it."
"Hey, would you please take out the rubbish? Her highness, the soon-to-be-published-poet wishes it."
"Sweetheart, could you switch off the light?  The brightness is bothering the soon-to-be-published-poet's eyes."

I know.
How annoying.

But there's nothing that encourages a writer more than some of their very own words on paper, printed there by someone else.

My dad's advice, not only echoed the imminent things to come in my own life, but is just wise.  Everyday, we have a choice to glide through our experience, or to notice, ponder, attention to the little things that make up our lives.  The wise and devilishly good looking actor, Richard Chamberlain once wrote:
Preceeding any creation or discovery is attention.  It is giving our attention that opens the peepholes and great doors of discovery.  When I watch the workings of my mind, including those moments of intuitive, inner knowing that we all experience, I see that my attention is, in fact, who I am.  My attention is where I am.  To the extent that I give anything or anyone my attention, to that extent I am giving them myself.  I think attention is our primary power, perhaps our only power.  Giving someone or something our entire attention, with no preconceived ideas or agendas whatever, is the essence of love.
Paying attention is, sometimes, just plain hard.
But I'll tell you, stone by stone, there is is joy to be found simply in trying.


  1. Congratulations! That is so awesome.

  2. Congratulations on being included in the book! That's very exciting. It's funny the good things that can happen when we listen to our parents...

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  4. So exciting! And beautiful story. Nice to meet you:)