There are few gifts as precious in life as someone’s undivided attention.

There are few things rarer in life these days as the gift of someone’s undivided attention.

The need to be paid attention to is universal and unmistakable. Though we may not frame it as such, it is built into our hardwiring and even into our DNA. We need to be seen, heard, acknowledged, and appreciated. When we are not, we suffer.

We need to pay attention to others. We need to see, listen to, acknowledge, and appreciate fellow living beings. When we do not do that, we suffer.

We have an intrinsic need to connect. We need to experience a felt-sense connection within our own being to ourselves and to our surrounding world. This connection is the foundation to our sense of belonging. Belonging is also a hardwired human need.

We are living in perhaps the most distracted and disconnected time in human history. Attention is largely scattered, which throws connection and belonging right out the window. It is so rare these days to really feel seen, heard, acknowledged, and connected to that when it happens it is startling.

In an age when we mistake social media ties for actual friendship and texting with authentic communication there is a low-level anxiety that for me is palpable.

We long for the gift of precious attention.

I have recently had a few experiences where I was seeking to connect and commune with others who were clearly somewhere else in their attention. I purposely stopped what I was saying, and in all instances, it took a few long moments for them to notice I had ceased communicating. In one case there was no awareness of that at all.

I was grateful to notice the obvious disconnect and yet to be able to choose to not take it personally. It is a human dilemma much bigger than me. I didn’t go to “they should be seeing, listening, paying attention to me.” I simply noticed that for them something else entirely was going on.

I daily see people driving while texting. I have one-sided conversations with great regularity. I frequently am interrupted in social engagements by an uninvited and unannounced selfie. I speak into eyes that are darting everywhere but back into mine. It seems to be the current lay of the land.


There are few gifts as precious in life as someone’s undivided attention.

So, while I personally recognize all of this as the foundation of much at least subtle suffering I am not painting this as a problem for or about others.

I see it as an invitation to hone my own skills in terms of giving precious attention.

When you appear, I am committed to seeing you.

When you speak, I am dedicating myself to really listening.

When I am on the phone with you, I will not be multitasking or mentally engaged in to do lists or other distractions.

I am personally devoted to connecting and communing with those in my sphere.

This is not an easy feat in a culture of constant distractions and continuous deadening.

And, I am committed to precious attention and intimate connection.

Regardless of what you do, I will give you the gift of my precious attention.

And in giving you that gift I am gifted as well.

I see you. I hear you. I acknowledge you. I appreciate you. I consciously connect with you.

And in my precious attention, you belong.