In a world of bombarding distraction, how can you become more connected to your loved ones and feel deeper satisfaction with all that surrounds you? How can you capture moments of radical engagement?
You can get REAL. Try any of these five Radically Engaging Attention Lures to intentionally experience a sense of flow and captivation.
1) Jar some joy
Starting a Joy Jar, you could say, is kind of like starting a batch of kombucha tea or sourdough bread. But without any slime or sticky dough.
How it works: Gather together a large jar and a stack of paper. When you think about or have experiences that bring joy, simply write them down and place them in the jar. Then on days when joy seems frustratingly far away, just reach in, pull out a memory -- and be immediately reminded of the abundance of joy all around you.
You'll soon notice this simple Joy Jar palpably and consistently jars into your awareness the plentiful, delightful moments that you may otherwise miss. Some big (a substantial win at work) and some small (how evening light hits the cherry blossoms). Either way, you'll likely feel more engaged as a result of your "Joy-Jarring" and more attuned to the presence of joy that would normally go unseen.
2) Turn a blind eye
It's easy to multitask and feel overwhelmed when you're in front of an electronic device or sitting at your desk, gazing at all the physical "evidence" of your projects -- lists, correspondence, bills, emails. Then the phone rings -- and it's your partner, your child, your most important client. You desperately want to be present with your full self. But find it's impossible when you see all the modern flotsam and jetsam around you.
So, close your eyes while you have that important conversation. This simple step of "turning a blind eye" to your distractions will help you focus on and be engaged in the NOW. Do the same as you brush your teeth or exercise on the elliptical. Once you start using this simple trick, you'll find more opportunity to (safely!) close your eyes to distractions, and look life right IN the eyes with your full, REAL self.
3) Take 10
It's natural to feel disengaged when you're overwhelmed with projects and commitments. You might get stymied, shut down and go nowhere. An easy-to-implement remedy: Next time you want to make REAL progress on a highly "procrastinate-able" project, set a timer for just 10 minutes. Promise yourself that for this short period, you'll focus on whatever to-do has been eluding you.
And if you like, reward yourself when the time is up. If you're like most of us, it's the getting started on a put-off-able that snags us. Taking 10 asks little of you -- just 10 minutes. But the practice will produce a substantial dent in whatever has been making you feel like a lifetime member of the Procrasti-Nation. And chances are, you'll achieve a level of flow and engagement that you were hoping for all along.
4) Write a grace note
Whoever said a eulogy must only be written for someone who's dead? Why do we wait so long to openly recognize the gifts others bring to the world? Why are the truest compliments and sincerest sentiments said about loved ones when they can no longer hear and savor them? What if you could take the love and conscientiousness you feel after someone dies -- and intentionally communicate your gratitude while they are still living?
You can. Whether your thoughts are written or spoken, call it a Grace Note. Because like a musical grace note, it's that extra embellishment that makes something beautiful even better. It's freely and openly given to acknowledge someone's gifts. And the process will invariably engage you in a deeper, more authentic connection to those who matter most.
What keeps us from committing to this simple act? A lack of time? A fear of feeling awkward? A concern that the person we're "gracing" will then feel obligated to honor YOU? (Wouldn't that be nice?!)
Just keep it simple; this doesn't have to be poetry, and there is no "wrong" way to express yourself. Think of someone you love. Then consider just one or two key words that embody this person -- and you're on your way to immortalizing him or her. Or if you're among the fortunate who doesn't know someone who's imminently dying, look around you. People everywhere are dying to be heard, recognized and appreciated. People are dying to receive your Grace Note.
5) Die tomorrow
Admittedly this REAL idea takes more effort, yet offers a generous payback.
On some level, we are all dying, bit by bit, each day. What would happen, then, if you imagine, and better yet -- fully act out -- a day that in the near future is your Last. One. On. Earth. How would you spend it? With whom? In this scenario, you're not just talking about feeling more engaged in the world. You ARE. Maybe your last day involves a long-put-off, yet life-defining, conversation with a loved one. Or writing a special letter to a special someone.
Perhaps it's a one-of-a-kind meal, or bringing your closest friends together for laughs over dinner and fine wine. Or recording for your children your hopes and dreams for them. It could be as simple as picnicking with all your favorite foods at a local park. Or flying to a destination atop your bucket list. Whatever it is, your "some day" has arrived.
And since you likely WON'T "die tomorrow," this exercise -- as powerful as it is extreme -- helps you passionately go about the business of living well with REAL purpose and focus.
Talk about radical!