Practising Giving Attention
Find a quiet spot outside, in your garden, on your doorstep, on a park bench, or even inside your home looking outside.
Sit there quietly for ten minutes and give careful attention to what is around you.
Be aware of what you see and hear in those ten minutes…what is crawling on the ground, what is flying overhead, what is making a noise, what is silent, what is happening in your body? Give yourself and your attention fully to this experience, noticing what comes up for you with gentle curiosity… inner judgement about wasting time…a sense of urgency to do something more useful…boredom…discomfort…let these sensations and thoughts come and go and keep returning to the practice of attending. This is much harder than it sounds – try and see – you’ll need to practice to improve!
Reflect on Scripture
Read the short passage below slowly, slowly, slowly, letting the words sink in and letting the images fill you, then sit quietly for a moment or two.
Hold a wondering space within you – I wonder what Spirit might be saying to me today?
It might be that as you read, a word or phrase catches your attention, or perhaps a word returns and stays with you as you sit quietly at the end. Take this word or phrase into the day with you and listen for the ways it offers connections in your living.
Psalm 139 (CEV)
You have looked deep
into my heart, Lord,
and you know all about me.
2 You know when I am resting
or when I am working,
and from heaven
you discover my thoughts.
3 You notice everything I do
and everywhere I go.
4 Before I even speak a word,
you know what I will say,
5 and with your powerful arm
you protect me
from every side.
6 I can’t understand all of this!
Such wonderful knowledge
is far above me…
23 Look deep into my heart, God,
and find out everything
I am thinking.
24 Don’t let me follow evil ways,
but lead me in the way
that time has proven true.
A poem to treasure
the universe is singing.
silver whispers from star to star,
the roar of the golden sun,
the blue Earth’s dance in the darkness.
the great drum, the solemn sea
pulsing under the moon,
the heartbeat of the sleeping land,
the crackle and snap of air.
the living creatures are singing:
each little life lifts its voice,
sings, swells and stutters to a stop,
passes its song to children’s children.
we who have ears to hear, and the gift of speech,
live the song, gather it up and sing it.
bring words of worship and wonder,
sing for the sun and stars,
sing for the earth and all its creatures.
tell out, shout – the beauty and the bounty of it!
sing creation’s song to the Creator!
by Marnie Barrell(NZ) From A Heart for Creation: worship resources and reflections on the environment Chris Polhill (2010) Wild Goose Publications. Administered in Australia and NZ by Willow Publishing Pty Ltd. www.willowpublishing.com.au. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
A story on Giving Attention from Family Works
Giving Attention – Open our eyes to really see what is around us.
Students becoming disengaged from school is currently a significant and worrying issue in New Zealand.
Transitional housing (temporary accommodation and support for people in urgent need of housing) can cause a major disruption to families. Housing redevelopment can often mean children and their families have to move away from their community and school. This loss of community connection adds to the existing emotional and financial pressures caused by high petrol and rising food costs.
In our pandemic context, with children often having to learn online at a new school, there are limited opportunities for face to face friendships.
All of these issues leads to gaps in learning, absenteeism and worsening behavioural issues.
Research highlights the fact that children who disengage from school often leave their schooling career early.
Our Family Works Social Workers in Schools (SwiS) are working one-on-one with each of these students to find ways to encouage them back to school, for example through food parcels and sporting opportunities.
We need to give these children and their caregivers our care and attention in order to be part of the community solution and help them re-engage with their learning. What could you do?