One of our goals is to increase the average length of the human attention span. To that end, I have created a series of video clips and blog posts intended to serve as exercises to stretch your attention.
The lastest – this one – is built around a trip to an off-season golf course in St. Paul that opens up to people and dogs during the winter. I strapped a video camera to Pamuk and let her run on a wonderfully clear day so typical of Minnesota in the colder months. The full video runs nearly 45 minutes. Even the most dedicated slow cinema viewer would be challenged by the raw footage, I think. The jerky camera work form the dog’s back does not allow for the finer elements of time to emerge. So editing was in order. Let’s start with the 20 second clip, Pay Attention. Now!:
Watch it again. Note your breathing while you watch. Try to slow your breathing to balance the speed of the video. This is two breaths- worth of video. Inhale/Exhale, Inhale/Exhale. Try to make it One. I knew you could.
Next clip is a big leap forward. Goldfish Run is 4x the length of Pay Attention. Now! As you readjust your attention span by watching and rewatching, think about the fact that the average human being has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. A goldfish! Take 10 or fewer slow breaths while you watch Pamuk run. Ponder all the ways you are like a goldfish.
From goldfish to kinetics is a small step – only 2x. Pay attention to Pamuk’s ears. See how they tell you what she is going to do? That is how your breathing works. If you can control your breathing, you can control your emotions. When you control your emotions, you can direct your energy. When you direct your energy, you can change your world. Watch Kinetics. Ponder all the ways you might change the conditions in your neighborhood and in our world. Imagine that is where you will direct your breath, emotion, and energy. Get ready to do it.
Breathe. Compose. Act.
All we need now is More Kinetics. Watch it and think about what you can accomplish. Breathe and imagine all the energy that you hold. Where will you put that energy? Breathe and run slowly, then faster, until your attention is all that keeps your feet on this ground. Pay attention. Run with the goldfish. Become kinetic. More forward.
Exhale, laugh, and repeat as needed for further relief.