Use Your Attention Wisely

Become aware of the damaging thought patterns in your day so that you can begin to experience them in new, more distant and less harmful ways. This will help de-clutter your mind.

| January 2017

  • While others may try to grab your attention, you are the only one who can decide how to use and harness this gift of awareness.
    Photo by Fotolia/Tatiana Shepeleva
  • “Clearing Emotional Clutter: Mindfulness Practices for Letting Go of What’s Blocking Your Fulfillment and Transformation” by Donald Altman.
    Cover courtesy New World Library

We’ve all heard about the benefits if clearing unneeded stuff from your surroundings, but what about the stuff in your head — the psychological version of a jam-packed storage space? This mental clutter affects your ability to experience joy and have a fully satisfying life. In Clearing Emotional Clutter (New World Library, 2016), Donald Altman not only helps you recognize what baggage you’re carrying from your past, but he also suggests solutions for transforming it or getting rid of it for good. Learn to accept old wounds, mistakes, and disappointments so that you can better deal with your joyful present and cultivate a fulfilling future.

For more books that pique our interest, visit the Utne Reader Bookshelf.


"What if you could erase everybody’s memory of how the world operates? In that moment, the world would be born anew."
— John Nelson, Matrix of the Gods

Are you an avid social networker? How does your time on Facebook or other social networking sites usually make you feel? Do you notice when your mood goes up or down? Do you notice the streams of memories, thoughts, or desires that get stimulated by the images and posts of others? Many people use social networking in a positive way to stay in touch with distant friends and family. In the same way, we need to constantly stay in touch with the “posts” we’re putting up in our own minds, as well as the instant “texting” sent to us by the body — all of which I like to think of as Inner-Facebooking.

Inner-Facebooking skills are all about how you use one of your most precious resources: your attention. Your attention is what you use here and now to navigate your world. While others may try to grab your attention for their own purposes, no one other than you, ultimately, can decide how to use and harness this gift of awareness.

To illustrate what I mean, take the following brief survey:

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