Ben Crowder

Blog: #attention

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In this time of being thankful, and in close connection with what I wrote yesterday, I see now that a habit of gratitude has a sister: a habit of noticing.

(Sidenote: my current take on noticing is that it’s a way of pulling off the abstractions that cover my attention like a film, freeing me to focus on what’s really there.)

Looking, listening, attending. These carve out space for appreciation; it’s hard for me to appreciate something I’m unaware of.


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On my walk early this morning I looked up and noticed to my surprise that stars twinkle.

I once knew this, of course, but somewhere along the way I apparently stopped paying attention to the stars and replaced my mental model of the night sky with a static, dead husk.

Reminder to self: Look! Observe! Get out of your head! Abstractions are useful in their place but don’t forget to pay attention to the delicious, detailed, vibrant mess of reality around you.


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Weeknotes 2.2

  • Almost eligible for the Covid vaccines! Yesterday the governor announced that everyone in Utah sixteen and older will be eligible starting Wednesday next week. Wonderful news. Not really looking forward to having to brave the virtual crowds to get an appointment, though. I’d rather just put my name on a waitlist and bide my time.
  • No real improvement on my back. At this point in my life, I’m realizing that corporeal deterioration is undoubtedly going to continue scraping away my ability to do the things I love, and it’s just a matter of which things and how soon. (I am clearly an optimist.)
  • Sadly, our neighbor a few houses down unexpectedly passed away at home this afternoon. That makes three deaths in our ward in the past two weeks, a trend we hope will stop soon.
  • I’ve been doing somewhat better at putting my phone away when my kids are in the room, and it makes a noticeable, wonderful difference. I’m finally becoming aware of just how important it is to give them focused, undivided attention — not just for them, but for me, too. Less mental friction.
  • The other day I realized that because my new job is remote, I have no idea how tall anyone is. It doesn’t matter in the least, but part of me is curious how closely my subconsciously created mental estimates match up with reality — and whether it’s influenced at all by camera angles in Zoom.

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