A is for Attention

[Part of the Pagan Blog Project]

I used to do a lot of horseback riding when I was a teenager, and a number of things from that time have stuck with me.

One of those was the way we pay attention. There’s a concept called “hard eye versus soft eye”. Hard eye is the directed focused attention, when you are honed in on a particular goal – pointing a horse at a fence, navigating an obstacle in a trail class, doing THAT thing right now.

Soft eye is letting things open up, to the edges of your peripheral vision. Being aware of that thing that’s coming up beside you – whether that’s another horse and rider, a branch, a random thing that will terrify the poor pitiful thousand pound prey animal you’d like to stay on top of. (With my beloved pony, that was sheep. She was terrified of them. Also deer.)

You need both kinds of vision – both kinds of attention – in your life sometimes, but in general, the more of your time you can spend in soft eye, the better it is for you. You take in more, for one thing. But you also are easier on your body. Things are flexible, gentle, open, able to respond to new input quickly. It’s harder to sneak up on you.

So, why am I talking about this in a post about Pagans and research and life? Because the same thing is true with research.

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Pagan Blog Project

So, as part of my “No, really, I will blog more regularly in public.” goal. I am planning on doing the Pagan Blog Project, wherein one writes a post a week (based on alphabetical placement)

But because I’m me, and because – for more than one reason – I don’t really want to do “Let me talk about general Pagan stuff”, I want to turn this to a topic I’m about to dig into in much more depth (in hopes of producing functional long-form writing about it by the end of the year: for those of you who know me, this is the thing I refer to as the Better Pagan Research book I’ve been talking about for nearly a decade.)

So, I plan to use these blog posts to talk about aspects of research, learning, information, analysis, investigation, training, evaluation, and pretty much any other term you can think of for “taking in information about the world and doing something with it” as they intersect with Paganism. I’ve got a list of topics (yes, even for X, Y, and Z) though I may change some between now and when I actually write them.

You can also expect there may be some book recommendations (both Pagan and non) and probably a certain number of cooking metaphors. Because I’m like that.

Posts will be in their own category (Pagan Blog Project), and will get posted on Fridays, generally around 10am. Feel free to suggest topics you’d particularly like me to touch on, though the format (and frequency) may mean some things just don’t fit in blogging space as much as I’d like.