Awareness is Serious Business
Let’s talk about AwDD. This is not the same as AD/HD. You may have Awareness Deficit Disorder – you just may not be aware of it. Pun intended.
Ever stand in your own living room; hold an item in your hand; put it down; turn to do something and then spend two hours looking for it. Hands up those whose most memorable searches have stretched into days?
How about those of you who live in large towns which have stores with big parking lots. Ever spend an unproductive half hour wandering up and down rows of cars with heavy shopping bags in your arms trying hard to look nonchalant but feeling like an idiot? How is it possible that you have absolutely no idea where your car is when you yourself parked and locked it and strolled away from it less than an hour ago?
It does get worse as you get older but it can strike at any age. In fact young children can be fabulously, intensely unaware of reality.
This year we have all been made aware (there’s that word again) of just how devastating AwDD can be. A well-educated sophisticated college professor parked his car and strolled away from it leaving his 10-month-old child securely strapped in the back seat. Four hours later the child was discovered dead. Just to show that AwDD is not gender-specific a pre-school teacher parked her SUV and strolled into her own school leaving two of her little charges baking in the back seat.
Recently, I opened my paper and read about a local man who went to work leaving his sweltering 5 month old securely strapped into her car seat. He was arrested five hours later on suspicious of negligent homicide. Authorities later decided not to press charges stating that the incident was an accident and the man was not at fault. Which is interesting because it implies that we have no control over our awareness. We are not accountable for being present in our own lives.
This same man held a news conference to state that he was going to lobby auto manufacturers to be required to put safety devices in all cars to remind parents that their children are in the car with them. Let me repeat that. There is a proposal for legislation to require auto manufacturers to install devices in all vehicles to remind parents to be aware that their children may be in the car with them.
These heartbreaking stories bring awareness to our awareness. Something we take for granted, like breathing, becomes a precious commodity.
We realize how much we live in our heads and how little we live in our visual field.
Of course, awareness is always a matter of life or death. Like love or wellness, however, we don’t value it until we experience the consequences of its absence.
You can practice awareness at any moment of the day. When you’re waiting at a car wash instead of daydreaming or obsessing on work pay attention to the people around you or the worker drying your car. Does he have a system? Does he dry the glass first or the body? How old is he?
If you find yourself living too much inside your head take a walk. Don’t come back until you’ve counted 30 red cars. Why? No reason. It’ll put you in motion and you’ll be surprised what you notice about your neighborhood while you’re peering down side streets and driveways.
Life is a great adventure and sleepwalking through it is not an option. Pay attention to your attention. If you want to realize your dream in life you’re going to have to stay awake to do it.