Stopping ADHD in the street

Excuse me, do you have a second for me to tell you about a new dimension? I think you’ll like it. Mostly I like to keep my dimensions to myself, but this one I wanted to share with you. It will only take a second. Ok? Ok.

You know what a dimension is, right? Picture a long straight line you can travel on. What dimensions do you know? Left, right. One. Forward, back. Two. Up and down. Three. Those are the three dimensions we know.

Could there be other dimensions? Time, that’s one. How about another one? No, not one that I’m making up. I mean a new dimension, that’s real, that noone has heard of. What do you think?

(At this point in the conversation, sit back and learn from the audience. What’s the point otherwise?)

Now what about your attention? (Tap forehead, right between the eyes, and look as kooky as possible.)

I can move my attention in space, watch. I just bend my head, I mean I bend my neck, like this. Whoa! There it went. Whoa! Now now attention’s over here! Now it’s on you! Hold on, here it comes (grab head with hands and turn it) now it’s on you!

I can move it up and down, and forward and back. (Go ahead and enjoy this part as much as you can. It gets even better. For now just keep jumping around and keep the eyes on you.)  My attention is right here in my head so it moves whenever my head moves.

But! Can you move your attention without moving your head?

I will hold up my hands here. See, I’ve painted a dot on one of my palms. Now focus on the other hand, that doesn’t have the dot. Can you see it? Forget about the other hand. What dot, right? There is no dot.*

Now, without moving your head, shift your attention–can you do it without moving your eyes?–to the dot. No moving! You there, I see your eyes moving! No moving. You don’t have to see it. There are lots of ways to do this. Just move your attention to it.

There, did you get it? Then you can go back, back to the plain hand. Back and forth, back and forth, you can do this, right? (Wait for nodding.)

Excellent. Now we should rest, because that was hard work.

(No matter how I try to act this out, I am always interrupted at this point and told No! That was really easy. Once a girl told me she was about to bend me in half with her mind. I talked her out of it.)

Ok, that was easy? You can move your attention without moving your body, and it’s easy. Ok. Then tell me this: where did you move you attention?

You were moving it, right? Then you had to be moving it somewhere. But it wasn’t left and right, it wasn’t up and down, or in and out–it wasn’t time.

I call that a new dimension! What do you think?

(Again, no matter how I try to act this out to get them not to, everyone always agrees with me at this point, including one boy who said ok, but he also wanted to check what current leading scientific thought had to say about the issue.)

See? Your attention is yours, and only yours. You are the one that moves it. You’re the one that controls this dimension.

(It becomes hard to keep the focus of the audience at this point, because a lot of heads will be darting around like little birds, focusing on this thing, then this other, and other heads will be staring very hard at their shoes, probably growing imaginary wings, and in a very great hurry now to get on and make imaginary bicycles to ride, and imaginary swimming pools to swim in, and turn their hands into flippers and things like that. Which is what I do all day, so I can’t blame them.)

(So I just stop here and giggle myself, for what feels like a long time, but actually isn’t ever anywhere near long enough–enjoying the group of attentions fluttering around, and the smiles from the parents, before I call them back to my dot so I can say good-bye.)

(It is always very wise to giggle, but especially at times like this. Yes, we are still giggling, aren’t we all, at what we can do? Because we can see that this is very fun for everyone, to move in a new dimension. No, it’s not my idea. I wish I had come up with it. And yes, I am still giggling too, a day later. Inside. I can’t wait to stop. You go ahead, giggle too, until you don’t want to anymore.)

Give me a hug, if you please, and go have a great life.

(And then I run away…)


*There was a dot.