Paying Attention + Us = Zest!

. . . Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. It’s all about taking in as much of what’s out there as you can, and not letting the excuses and the dreariness of some of [life’s] obligations…. narrow your lives. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”~Susan Sontag

Nowhere has this wise statement rung more true for me than it did on Friday night when I danced in the crosswalks, sidewalks and an outdoor plaza of New Haven, CT with the gorgeous Lindsey Bauer and Samantha Russell from Elm City Dance Collective . Yowza!

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While I cultivate a practice of presence, it’s a work in progress :). I keep at it because I know that when we notice the worlds around and within us, we can dive into the river of miracles that flows through our lives.

Our 90- minute improvisational dance on Friday helped me take my awareness to a new level and highlighted the bounty that paying attention yields. Not only were we creating movement with each other on the spot, but also we had to stay within the crosswalk and within the 12- second or so length of the walk sign each time it appeared.

Especially since we aimed to bring awareness to safety, there was no lagging behind or veering out of the crosswalk or obstructing other pedestrians’ paths.  The uneven terrain, signposts, hydrants, concrete planters, and countless moving human types, also needed to be factored in as we danced with each other on the 360-degree “stage” that covered a constantly changing half a city block.

Paying attention, big time!

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Chloe, Sam and Lindsey walking an imaginary tightrope

It was hard to believe that I couldn’t sleep that night.  After driving 75 minutes each way to a strenuous dance class earlier in the day and then another 50 minutes to and from the public art show, my body was exhausted.

Yet, true to Susan Sontag’s insight, my mind and soul were still aflame; my awareness ratcheted up to a whole new level.  The skin tingling sense of aliveness continued long after my fatigued body was prone.

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Sam, Lindsey and Chloe jamming in the crosswalk

My experience on Friday was an extreme case, but it served to demonstrate how essential to verve paying attention is.  Using heightened awareness, we dancers were able to make all kinds of synchronistic connections: with each other, with passersby, with the changing environment.  We could riff off of all of those sources of inspiration AND do it without injury to ourselves or someone or something else.  The talented and peripatetic photographer, Rich Davis, provides further evidence of the power of paying attention through his beautiful photos. (All photos in this post by Rich Davis, http://davisphoto.smugmug.com )

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Noticing so many catalysts for my dancing has just primed my pump for seeking more. More awareness. More connection. And ultimately more life.

So, if you are seeking refreshment of your spirit, body, mind and soul here’s my suggestion: Pay attention.  Then go for broke.

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10 Responses to Paying Attention + Us = Zest!

  1. Luggage Lady says:

    What a magnificent story to catapult me into my days off: Awareness, connectivity — fulling living…Yes, and super-size it, please!!!!!! SO much fun, — loving every bit of energetic inspiration…

    • SirenaTales says:

      Hooray for zesty days off, my globe-encircling friend. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate hearing your enthusiastic support. You make me wanna dance! And pay attention and connect! Love you, Shauna….

  2. diahannreyes says:

    Wow- I don’t know what I loved more- seeing you on the side of a bus or watching you leap and twirl on the street. And I loove your sunglasses. Pay attention indeed-loved the message in this dance. You made me feel very good this morning just reading and watching you.

    • SirenaTales says:

      Thank you so much for being here, Diahann. I was thinking of you and your recent, inspiring post as we danced Friday–striving to embody my body and my movement as fully as possible while being up close and personal with so many folks out on the city streets. Thanks for that…and for your terrific friendship. xxo

  3. Mél@nie says:

    one word: EXCELLENT!!! ❤ bonne continuation, you rule and rock, gals! 🙂

  4. Sure would like to be there in person one day to see you dance! I LOVE that the three of you did this!

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