Sunday, July 4, 2010


I recently read a book entitled "Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life" by Winifred Gallagher.  The major premise of the book is that how you experience life depends upon what you pay attention to.  Whether you focus on the negative aspects or the positive aspects of a situation influences how you perceive that situation.  Your mood at any given moment is significantly influenced by the type of thoughts on which you choose to focus your attention.  Whether a bad mood is fleeting or sticks around all day depends upon whether you choose to focus your attention on those feelings or to direct your attention elsewhere.

In addition, the type of life you lead depends upon the types of activities to which you choose to devote your attention.  The types of activities we find fulfilling are those that hold our attention, where we can lose ourselves in the activity and look up to find that hours have passed in what seemed like only minutes.

These are not necessarily new ideas but reading the book inspired me.  Lately I've noticed that I lack vitality.  I don't ever get excited about anything and the passion that once fueled me to action burned out long ago.  I'm not unhappy by any means but I definitely feel like something's missing.  As I read this book it dawned on me that I don't engage in any activities that interest me enough to give them my sustained and undivided attention.  I need to find things that challenge me in that way.  I used to have those things in my life.  For example, I used to journal and to write poetry.  I also went through a phase where I drew and painted.  My walls are proudly adorned with my mediocre artwork.  I once kept a visual journal and each day I looked forward to coming home to create something new to add to it.  For awhile I made music videos using The Sims 2 -- until my computer crashed and I lost all of my hard work.  In my younger days I used to go out to night clubs every weekend to dance.  How I anticipated those outings!  Each weekend held exciting possibilities.

I don't do any of these things anymore, for various reasons or for no reason at all.  The fact is that I need something in my life that captures my attention.  As of right now I don't know what that thing will be but I will keep looking for it.



  1. So so so true! It takes a lot of actual "work" to keep living with such passion and action, yeah?

    We are definitely what we think... our thoughts lead to emotions... those emotions lead to action... that action makes our lives.

    Great post.


  2. i completely understand this post. i used to have those days too when i have something to look forward to. not just an activity but some siple goals.

    right now i've focused myself into some exercising activity. i don't know how long i'd keep up with it but my attention is focused on this right now


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