paying attention

I’m trying to develop the practicediscipline of paying attention. Easier said than done.

As part of my role developing PRAXIS I’ve been connecting with friends, churches, and ministries in Vancouver. In the frenetic pace of the city it’s easy to move around with whatever agenda is driving the day, not ever really noticing who or what I’m surrounded by.

Walking or taking transits shifts the pace a little, allowing me to pay more attention to my surroundings. The danger, unfortunately, is that I find myself consuming the city, always looking for object lessons or profound insights - I am supposed to be a developing “urban expert” after all. As a blogger, I see the world through the lens of "what would make a good blog post?" And as an Instagram-er, paying attention only serves my desire to get attention.

But something doesn’t feel right as I treat my surroundings only as an object of study. Something is missing.

There is no connection.

On a recent foray into the city, I took a different approach. Instead of observation for my purposes, I just paid attention - no agenda. I listened. I looked. I smelled. I walked. I rode transit. Nothing spectacular happened. No profound original insights. Just observation.

I took a few random notes. Here are three scenes I observed (in no particular order or purpose or meaning): 

Scene #1
Kids voices.
People walking.
Destination clear for some;
Others the wandering only a vacation can bring bring.
Bells, birds and buses are the soundtrack.
It’s morning in Vancouver.

Scene #2
Up the moving steps
People parade onto the street in a sort-of urban march
Choreographed to the tune of city life.
Colors. Light. Prestige.
And dogs. Lots of dogs.
A girl learns to ride a bike amidst it all.
Such is the city.

Scene #3

Books.
Lots of books.
7 floors of books.
Some read;
Most not.
Are those kids I hear crying?
Or lonely books?

The library seems to tell its own story...



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