Intention vs. Attention

I was reflecting this weekend on the topic areas I have written about for the past few months on this blog versus the original intention I had at the beginning.

Sunrise from my window
Sunrise from my window this morning as I wrote – gorgeous!

One intention was to comment on politics and privilege from my unique perspective as a bi-cultural Latina woman. I still do that now and then. But more often, I have shared about topics like mindfulness and taking care of my health. So I wanted to consider why the blog morphed as I committed to more of a daily routine of writing. Here’s what I came up with. I would love to know what you think.

  1. It is best to write about what we know. Since I know myself better than I know anyone, writing about my own experience, and my own journey seems to be a good way to start. It limbers up my writing practice, and allows me to reflect on what I have learned from a personal perspective.
  2. “Research is me-search.” I am a clinical researcher by training, but the topics I find most interesting are my own little n=1 experiments in health. For those of you not familiar with this terminology, “n” is the number of subjects/patients you include in an experimental sample. When I experiment with a new wellness practice, I am the sole participant so n=1. There is no control group, so it is not a “valid” sample in the methodology we typically use. But of course, there are subjective measures we can use to validate our own experience. I rely on those rather than on statistical work to conclude whether I will continue particular wellness practices I try.
  3. Taking care of ourselves well is a radical act. I believe we do not live in a culture that does not properly value taking care of ourselves, and women struggle with this most. We give lip service to taking care of ourselves, but we also cut corners on sleep and fill our lives with unnecessary obligations and distractions. We must step away from the “busy-ness culture” that is supposed to signify our importance in the world. This helps us have space to truly thrive. But so few truly commit to this path.
  4. Until we care for ourselves, we will not have long-term resources to help others. I began finding in my personal life about 2 years ago that I was putting my work and family ahead of taking care of myself. It was taking its toll on my health. I did not like the results. I did not like constantly feeling tired and strung out. But I felt desperate to make a contribution “to the world” because I saw political and economic systems I did not feel were serving people. A decade before that I had been very involved in political campaigns. But that had burned me out, and required much personal sacrifice that I simply could make at this stage in my life.
  5. We are in this for the long haul. Any type of societal change is slow-moving, and requires sustained effort. What is done in one day has fairly little impact. But what is accomplished over time, with many small efforts (and many people) daily is what creates a movement. If more of us were to look inward, take care of ourselves and our needs, and thrive personally, we would likely have more time and energy to care for others. This includes our families, our communities, and our society as a whole. Not that we can stop caring for others as we care for ourselves, but just that we cannot care for others at the expense of our long-term health. This will serve nobody.

So these are my initial thoughts on why my blog has morphed from its original intention. I may come back to writing more about politics and other topics about which I am passionate. Right now, I write about what I most want to learn and master. That is where my attention is most focused, and writing about these topics clarifies my thinking.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunrise 2 from window
Sunrise a few minutes after the other photo – I just LOVE the colors of morning!

11 thoughts on “Intention vs. Attention

  1. I think it’s ok to morph our intentions and go where the path leads. I know my blog has moved in focus from where I originally intended and I think that’s ok. As long as it’s still serving you, that’s what matters most!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just thinking about this last week myself. I saw that someone critiqued my blog as follows: “I checked out her website, it’s rather interesting – on one hand I very much identify with her journey into her own body and the effects that has on one’s viewpoint and just generally how one feels, but I find the stuff related to social justice quite baffling. I found the juxtaposition (to my mind) intriguing.”

    I started my blog with a critique of someone who engaged in social media activism in what I viewed to be an unethical way. I’m not really sure what the commenter above meant by “baffling,” but it has made me think. Should I continue to write about civil rights, society, and ethics or just focus on the autobiographical entries and occasional meditations? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jessie. I think we are all multi-faceted, and someone’s confusion over why you write about social justice can be left at that. My own opinion is that those that do NOT care about social justice are basically blind to the world around us. But we all need to pick and choose what we focus on in life. And when the spirit moves you to write about those topics, do it! I suppose not everyone will understand us, and that’s okay. They can be wrong about us, or they can have a limited understanding. I really enjoy your writing, and I think I followed you partly because I saw how those interests intersect for you. As we write, we understand ourselves and others better. But there will always be some who may not resonate in the same way. Not a problem. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s very true. One of the reasons I write is to better understand my subject — whether that’s myself or our society. I think the commenter was likely Canadian, too, and their exposed to different ideologies than we are. If he hasn’t witnessed homeless people being harassed, experienced sexism, or heard first-hand anecdotes about discrimination and racism, then of course he’s going to be baffled that I would feel close to these issues. Thanks for your insight, Cristy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like this post, thank you. I especially love the idea that “taking care of ourselves well is a radical act” and agree that women in particular struggle with self-care, largely because the message we’re often given is that it’s our job to look after everyone else and ignore our own needs. I’m interested to know – did it come easily to you once you’d committed to improve your own self-care or did you find yourself sometimes slipping back to old ways?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Julie, I think I have gone through a few cycles in my life when I fall back into the old patterns of neglecting my self care. It has taken therapy and a lot of personal work to recognize those patterns, and be compassionate with myself when I realize those habits come “naturally” to me. I learned them as a child, in my family. But once I realized that it is possible to change, and I had a consciousness about my own needs, and that I could stop and observe my thoughts, not not get caught up in them, that’s what helped the most. Yoga and meditation have been essential to disentangling from old habitual thoughts I was not even aware I was thinking. Therapy too has allowed me to understand that I can choose different thoughts that serve me better. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I really appreciate your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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