What are you reading?

Lovely Flower

Now and then, it's good to spend a little extra time chewing on something instead of jumping ahead to the next email, link, bite of food, topic of conversation, etc. It's easy to rush right by so much of life. 

But when we really focus on something for a bit, time and space is made for new insights....a different perspective....a fresh take on something familiar. 

Paying intentional, focused attention is something we benefit from doing every day in concrete ways. I'm in the midst of the book "Attention and the Focused Life" by Winifred Gallagher. There are so many great insights from the book that I cannot wait to share. A summary of the portion I've read so far would go something like: in many ways a life is defined by where we do and don't focus our attention

Clearly, there is much more than goes into what makes up a life than what we choose to pay attention to. But I do believe the author, who is a behavioral science writer, is onto something significant (many other psychologists/scientists/neuroscientists have explored this topic, too).  

There are many things in life we cannot control. But our attention is actually something we have much more control over than we often realize. 

When we focus on our emotions that are on the negative side of the emotional spectrum, the world tends to feel very small and narrow. We have a hard time thinking beyond whatever kind of fear, anger, resentment, regret, worry we are focusing on (this is so true in my experience; when I am in an emotional pit of any kind, it's hard to see anything else). 

On the other hand, when we draw attention to our emotions on the more positive side of the spectrum, the world tends to feel larger and more expansive. We can recognize more possibilities. Life seems more hopeful and less bleak. 

I'll share more as I journey farther into the book. So far, it already has me thinking!

Here's one quote:
We must resist the temptation to drift along, reacting to whatever happens to us next and deliberately select targets, from activities to relationships, that are worthy of our finite supplies of time and attention. 
Good, eh?
Are you reading anything great at the moment? I'm in the middle of 5 books. I think I need to "focus" and finish one at a time (or maybe limit to 2 books at a time). :) 

I invite you to take some time now and savor a wonderful poem by Emily Dickinson.
Part One: Life


IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain, 
Or help one fainting robin         
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Question of the Day: What are you reading? (Please share in the comments)


  1. Sounds like an interesting book! I've read book of similar vain in the past; now, just snippets here and there. Currently reading "Moby Dick"...... strictly for entertainment. Never got around to it when younger, so catching up. Large book! Fun sailing the wild ocean, seeing the different characters interact, hailing an infrequent sailing ship passing by, lowering away and chasing a whale now and again.

    1. Interesting! Sounds like a good read. I've never read it!

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading Nadia Bolz-Weber's memoir Pastrix, when Amazon delivers it. Also reading The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way. Really interesting. What are the other four books you're reading, Emily?

    1. Hi Carol! I'm also reading Pastrix! Let me know what you think. The other three are: Daily Rituals, 7, and Divergent.