Sunday Morning

My spirituality has always been given to contemplation, even before anyone articulated for me exactly what “the contemplative” was. I was not raised in an overtly religious home; my spiritual formation now comes to me in memories—not creeds or doctrine, but the air we breathed, stories, myth, and a kind of attentiveness. From a young age, my siblings and I were allowed to travel deep into our interior worlds to become aware of ourselves, our loves, our beliefs. And still, my father demanded an unflinching awareness of our exterior worlds. Where is home from here? What was the waitress’s name? Where do we look when we’re walking? If a single phrase could be considered the mantra of our family, it would be Pay attention.

—  Cole Arthur Riley, This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us (Convergent Books, February 22, 2022)



  1. Paying attention definitely lends itself to a spiritual awareness of being in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘Stories, myth and a kind of attentiveness’ – just sold the book to me. Thanks, David, for your own …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m intrigued. And a bit envious that this young woman has clearly grasped a critical idea so early in her life….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oh, so yes

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How lovely to meet Cole! And, appreciate her wise father’s parenting… “Pay attention” seems to mean be alive, really be alive!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We sometimes play a game to test our attentiveness by pretending that we have to provide a description of someone. What were they wearing? Jacket? Hat? Moustache? Backpack? It’s shocking how little we really notice because we’re not paying attention. I’m going to try to open my eyes and ears more.

    Liked by 1 person

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