A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to, and a perfect traveler does not know where he came from.
- Lin Yutang, Writer
They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.
- Bil Keane, Cartoonist
You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
- A. A. Milne, Author (Winnie the Pooh)
I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
- Albert Schweitzer, Missionary
In American life, we think we are most free when we don't need anybody. Exactly what Alzheimer's represents is absolute dependency - That's what we all need to learn - how deeply we need one another.
- Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
- William James, Philosopher
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat . . .We must find each other.
- Mother Theresa, Saint
Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.
- Christopher Columbus, Explorer
If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen.
- Loretta Girzartis, Author
Nothing is more revealing than movement.
- Martha Graham, Dancer
All real living is meeting.
- Martin Buber, Philosopher
Memory Bridge Newsletter
10/10/08 - A Message from Michael: The Power of Attention
The people who change our life are never famous. Presidents, kings, billionaires, movie stars, legends of sport and entertainment, the great minds in art, science, and technology--these are the people who change the news, occasionally the world, but never our lives. While we pay attention to these people, the people who change our life are paying attention to us.
The single most powerful force in the universe is attention. Only that which is attended to lives. The flower unattended by the sun withers; the whale unattended by the sea washes lifeless to the shore; the baby unattended by its mother will not live to become a child. All of life depends upon the attention given to it by some other part of life. We live in, by, and for communion.
Remarkably, only we humans ever forget that, forget that we personally have a contribution to make to the cycle of attendance by which life keeps itself alive. A monkey will look in a mirror and delight in his reflection, sometimes for hours, but a monkey, even a conceited one, never mistakes the monkey in the mirror for the meaning of the universe, never says about his reflected other half: "Why, you're all the monkey I will ever need." People crave attention, but we alone forget that we, alone, atrophy and die.
By attention I do not mean applause, or praise, or public celebration. We like it, of course, when people clap for us, or when they recognize who we are and what we have accomplished in some demonstrably noticeable way. But the attention that changes our life is far less public, and far more meaningful than all that. When another person really attends to us, he is not trying to make us feel better; he is trying, rather, to feel what we feel, so that whatever we are feeling--good, bad, or worse than terrible--he is feeling with us, and thus whatever we were feeling alone we are now feeling together. The attention that connects us to the heart of another person is the kind we truly crave. More than being cared for, in the sense of someone doing something for us, and more than being applauded, we most deeply desire to be connected to others, heart to heart.
When we wonder what the future holds for our species, we would be wise to consider the state of our art of attending; for if we lose that art--the art of feeling in our heart how another feels in hers--then we shall surely die. There is no technology, and never will be any technology, that can substitute for our need to give and receive love. We must learn how to listen, and learn how to talk, from a place beyond judgment. We must forget our egos and remember each other.
To whom are you attending? Who is attending to you?