The Zen of Stay

The art of nothing. It’s all around but everyone seems too busy to notice. Earlier this week I was listening to my local 9 am NPR show called The Sound of Ideas on the topic of The Age of Distraction about the concerns generated by multi tasking and being distracted. Guest Maggie Jackson, of course promoting her book, DISTRACTED, spoke to her audience about the land of distraction. We’re so busy multitasking — blogging (uh oh!), texting, face booking, zipping from here to here in micro meetings — we’re distracted and eroding our capacity of deep attention.

Her site says

“And yet we can recover our powers of focus through a renaissance of attention. Neuroscience is just now decoding the workings of attention, with its three pillars of focus, awareness and judgment, and revealing how these skills can be shaped and taught. This is exciting news for all of us living in an age of overload.”

I myself with respect to teaching people about dogs talk about the 3 D’s: Distraction, Distance & Duration, but okay, her three pillars work for me too. It was too funny for me that while I listened to the show, being slightly but only slightly distracted at the time, I marveled at how much it chimed in with the lecture (maybe it was a rant?) to my group puppy class the day before about the Zen of Nothing, the art of being happy, doing nothing,preferably but not necessarly a down stay, no matter what, and how hard that it for puppies!

When I’m walking around in a group environment giving students individual attention, I emphasize, repeatedly, to the other students and their dogs, how, when waiting for the next exercise, the important exercise is to just be there happy doing nothing no matter what. My goodness that’s a very hard lesson to drum home.

So I decided to continue this invitation only class for another run in the early fall. We’ll see how many drop out and how many embrace the next onslaught of training torture. No no, we really do have fun!


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