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Leave It!








My dream teacher emphasized that our most important task in working with dreams is to simply give our full attention to the images that are presented by the dreamer. It seems like an easy thing to do, but it is really quite challenging. It is one reason I love working with dreams. The beautiful, strange, and sometimes disturbing images in dreams have the capacity to take me out of my self-centeredness so I can lend myself to them and to the creative work they do for the dreamer and for the world.


Today’s society would hold our attention hostage with our electronics and devices calling to us constantly. Forces in our world would keep us from our personal work, from our immediate connection to the world and from trusting ourselves and our own experience. That is why dream work can be considered a radical act – no corporation, organization, or government can keep us from our own dreams and our own knowing. But it requires discipline to give our attention to dreams and to what’s being asked of us on our unique personal journeys. There is a certain vigilance required to keep other entities, who may not have our best interest at heart, from distracting us. It is a daily practice for me to discipline myself and my attention as well. This poem came out of that struggle on one of my morning walks.


Leave It!


My friend tells her dog sternly,

“Leave it!”

That’s how I feel about my phone

on my morning walk.


I forget to turn it off

and it dings.

I want to check who

messaged me.


Leave it!


An intriguing bit of nature

in someone’s yard

inspires a question.

Just a quick Google search.


Leave it!


Just a quick

check of email.

Maybe a friend

responded to my last writing.


Leave it!


Looking at my phone

I miss the impossibly symmetry

of the slender bamboo canes,

dark bands ringing each green stalk.


I don’t hear the birds

singing in a

loud chorus,

welcoming the morning.


My foot crunches

on a snail

that makes a daily trek

across the sidewalk.


On less distracted days,

I have tenderly moved

these delicate creatures to the ivy,

away from careless footsteps.


The phone

steals my attention

away from the

natural world.


It robs me of

actual experience.

Yet I take it

on my solitary walk


because my friends have urged me

to not leave it behind.

They are concerned

for my safety.


I am concerned for my life,

for the beauty I

might miss,

the snails I might kill.


When the phone insists

“Pick me up!”

I tell myself

“Leave it!”


But the phone

has the same determination

as a puppy on a leash

seeing friends across the street.


It doesn’t give up so easily.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


As I considered my own difficulty with my phone, I looked up articles about how our electronics take our attention. This was a particularly good one, explaining how our capacity to focus is being changed by our devices. Here is the link, and a short poem I wrote based on the article.


“Your focus didn’t collapse. It was stolen.”


At the speed of Snapchat,

our attention is

fracturing

cracking

breaking.


Lamenting our lost capacity

for concentration,

we blame ourselves,

invasive societal forces overlooked.


is the start of a necessary fight

to reclaim our minds

while we still can.


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