I can hear a clock ticking, faint wisps of heat being pushed out of a rusty paint chipped heating unit, the distant sounds of city traffic. I’m consciously aware of what is happening around me, inside me.
My heart thumping, breaths soothing my body, thoughts disappearing - I’m taking in what’s going on, actively letting it fill me. And what fills me, I let fill me. After the fact, I sort through the stimuli. Ruminate on them.
A siren cuts through my peace, voices whoop, feet clack against sidewalk. But it’s okay, because I’m not disturbed; the city is just talking. And I’m just sitting here, listening. Floating through what feels like everything, arriving nowhere predetermined. It feels so good - to wade through stimuli, unbarring my mind from the plans I force upon it.
Sometimes I ignore - the trees outside, the wind whispering, and the people around. I hop on my phone and masquerade myself with endless entertainment. I watch videos, I like posts, and I laugh. I get caught up in digital life; I get caught up being entertained. I’m not thinking - I’m just watching.
Two hours later, I don’t remember a single thing on that screen. I feel absolutely crazy each time this happens. How many hours have I wasted - hours that aren’t coming back?
But tomorrow, I’ll still remember how I felt when the sound of the siren cut through me. I’ll remember wanting to help but not knowing who was in trouble. I’ll remember when I quit ignoring my senses and let them guide me in a tour of the environment I was in. That’s how I know it’s important to listen - because when I listen, the things I hear stick. I remember what I’ve heard.
Do you remember what you did yesterday? Could you write me a list? Or was it just so mindless, so banal, that you really can’t remember. Did you sleepwalk through the day? Just going through the motions...
Is that really being alive? I say no! To truly be alive, to not just be going through the motions, you have to practice living. To me, that means being in the time and space you’re in - feeling yourself move through it. I put down technology, turn off music and absorb what is at hand.
I schedule myself time throughout each day to empty my mind and feel around my environment. When I realize I’m getting caught up in my phone, my laptop or a T.V. and not being mindful of anything else, I put down that distraction. I stop and listen. I re-adjust myself to what’s around.
I’ve found that by practicing this, I remember more. I’ve found that I’m happier. There is purpose I see in even the seemingly insignificant, and every cog of life turns into its own wondrous thing.
I believe you will feel renewed, rested and reinvigorated upon learning how to take breaks, and listening to what’s going on around you during those breaks. So please do it! Take a break from doing, and absorb what’s at hand around you. Listen. Be mindful.