Stop What You're Doing, And Pay Attention

Living A More Intentional Life
with Tracey Rich

There are cultures where beauty and order are of the highest value. Intentional acts elevate the usually mundane to create environments that are meditations in and of themselves. Beauty and order can be so simple as to be arresting. There is a sense of calm in beauty. There is presence in order. Stopping what you are doing and paying attention can lead to a more intentional life.

Sculpting a garden or clearing off the top of your desk can both be acts of beauty and order. There is no hierarchy to what kind of environment brings you to attention. Doing a sun salutation, slowly, with precision, and attention on seemingly every molecule that makes up each breath, can become your intentional act. Or placing something " just so" in your home may bring you to a moment that anchors you in the present.

Many years ago, when I was traveling in Bali, it looked as though everything was dedicated to acts of intention. Everywhere your eyes fell there was beauty and order sculpted in a way that caught your attention and expanded your awareness. The infinite, subtle shades of green terraced on the mountainsides and in the rice fields, and the exceptional displays of detail everywhere seemed to demand the expansion of my awareness to take it all in. It required silence and being still to appreciate the environment to its fullest.

I recently heard someone refer to their time in Kyoto as being in the waiting room to heaven. There, conscious acts of daily life are practiced and presented with beautiful, refined precision in order to have you slow down and be aware that you are living life.

When we travel outside our daily routine we tend to notice things in a different way, offering us the opportunity to be more present and attentive. But we need not travel anywhere to live a more intentional life. Small acts of beauty and order can awaken us to the moment.