Mary Oliver - On Attention

One of my favorite poets - Mary Oliver - is interviewed by Krista Tippet in this episode of On Being.

As might be expected there were many illuminating moments, like this one that rang out for me.

Attention without feeling is only a report.......Attention is the beginning of devotion

Part of living well in the world, I concur, is about cultivating attentiveness - an attentiveness not only involving the eyes, but also the other senses and the heart. It's a practice where thinking, for a change, is relegated to the trunk, or at least the back seat. For me such moments of dedicated attentiveness, experienced in and out of the studio, can mysteriously release creative potential.  It doesn't happen often enough, but it seems to be, like most acquired skills, something that thankfully can be cultivated with a dose of intention.

For me, making objects without care, focus, and some kind of devotion to the process seems hollow - like a half-hearted, rather than a heart-full attempt.  When my heart is not in my practice - when I am not 'attending' to it - the work tells me by not resonating as it should. 

Mary Oliver talks in this interview about the discipline of keeping your dates with creativity - regularly and without fail - and cautions that every moment of this time will not produce a masterpiece. But by consistently and attentively creating this space/time we invite inspiration to inhabit it - and it eventually shows up. Hallelujah for this!

This is one of the things I need to attend to this year....keeping my dates with creativity.

Attentiveness invites a pause. It's a receptive offering.