Attention is like energy in that without it no work can be done, and in doing work it is dissipated. We create ourselves by how we invest this energy. Memories, thoughts, and feelings are all shaped by it.*
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.**
What kind of “estate” do you want to leave bequeath?
We know we can’t take anything with us once we have to give back the eighty or so years of energy we’ve been given. This proverb holds that right living are the most valuable to us when troubles come our way:
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.^
What we find is that there’s never the time to do right things. We have to make time. In this way it is both disruptive to us and to others in a valuable way. So, when Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes about attention being like energy we get it. Attention takes time. It’s the investment of who we are leaves behind memories, thoughts and feelings a burgeoning bank account never can.
Mary Oliver causes me to think about when we make time, when we invest energy, when we pay attention, we will be wowed, we will know ourselves to be rich, and then we must tell about it, which I take to mean, share it with others.