Attention

by Dumisani Mparutsa

Attention is a precious commodity that you can squander or conserve. It’s right up there with
oxygen and love, intangible and ineffable forces. People have a wonderful way of showing
you its value. When they invite you into their world, give you a tour, the movies, books,
wisdom and objects they share, can expand yours. The mere act of sharing gives you
something new to pay attention to, which is just as refreshing as a sip of water.

As of late the places, people and experiences have become the droplets that formed a body
of living water. Through bredren, homies and people who introduced me to their world, my
eyes were opened and realised that these people are my living water.

For a long time I was under the impression that I knew parts of this city like the back of my
hand. Where certain coffee shops, eateries, clothing stores and restaurants would serve as
personal landmarks. Those things are useful on any map’s key, yet they can be confining
and constricting – limiting movement (or so you’d think) and dictating behaviour.

However, when you step back, make a concerted effort to commune with yourself and
reclaim the ability to pay attention, interesting things begin to happen. It feels like tending to
a garden, which is no easy task; it requires time, energy and attention. Pruning, uprooting
and clearing what was there before is tiring but the process creates the space for newness.
An openness that makes you feel childish and receptive to wonder.

When you’re open to wonder, the ability to be attentive heightens and so does the urge to
move outside of your comfort zone. Those people, who are trotting outside of theirs tend to
find you, as their affect and spirit seems attractive. These individuals become teachers, who
show you how to harness and nurture the power of paying attention.

If you’re willing to forget yourself and be open, those people who recognise something in
you, will provide you with useful tools, through shared experiences, which could change your
way of life and shift your perspective. Your world may take on a different texture, increase in
vibrance and become more absorbing.

Connecting with others on a human level, makes it evident that certain things have flown
over your head. Through conversations and adventures, you learn that your area is an
untapped mine, teeming with great coffee shops, libraries, eateries and other hidden gems.
Where the people are affable and kind – irrespective of what’s going on in the space. Their
kind and generous spirit becomes infectious. It forms part of everything they do and in turn, it
rubs off on you.

This infectious spirit can be heard in the conversation with the barista, the laughter of the
kids and the brief interaction with the car guard. It’s evident in the way someone walks, a
glance or the exciting energy someone brings into a conversation.

These experiences leave an indelible impression on you.They heighten your curiosity,
encourage you to explore and strike up a meaningful relationship with the world around you.
People have this amazing ability to show you things that widen your eyes and drop your jaw.
They have a knack for showing you how to redirect your attention towards nourishing things
and experiences, which is just like a sip of cool water, refreshing and revitalising.