The blessing of undivided attention

I’ve never been good at multi-tasking. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried for years.  I just can’t hold my thoughts together when I’m working on multiple projects at once. It’s always been this way, so it’s not just because I’m getting older. I admit being jealous of people who have bookmarks in several books right now, digital or otherwise.  To keep plot lines in context? Not a chance.

Suddenly an inability to divide attention is a hot commodity.

To listen with full attention is in demand.  Personal devices, certainly good and necessary, are perhaps the most common enemy of our desire to give all our attention to what our loved one has to say.  To be emotionally present with others communicates their importance.

Show children our common ground at Christmas

Affan Abdullah is a Muslim American. He doesn’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. He feels, however, that we can find basic common ground and beliefs, no matter our faith or non-faith.*  What is this common ground?

candlesWe offer each other holiday wishes, often along these lines:

  • A wish that we all will live up to the values the holidays represent, not just talk about them.
  • A wish that we will live into the spirit of the season, helping those who need it and sharing with others from whatever we have.

What is the spirit of Christmas?

  • elem-boy-drawingFor children old enough to recognize that difficulties, trouble and disappointments have entered their lives, Christmas offers hope. Tradition records that Jesus described humanity as filled with both the characteristics of God and with self-defeating tendencies. Christmas brings the hope that good will overcome the bad, and Jesus laid out his way of doing that.

Addiction: breaking up with my best friend

I met Tessa, 21, in a class I taught as part of her drug rehab. What she taught me confirms the benefit of spiritual roots beginning in childhood.

Tessa’s story

journalingTessa (not her real name) gave me permission to use this letter she wrote as part of her recovery. Notice how she writes about her drug use as a relationship that she could turn to for support, eventually replacing it with her relationship to her higher power.

My dearest friend,

I am writing you to inform you that we can no longer be in each other’s lives. I no longer need you.