I was taking an early morning walk with my pup which is something I do regularly. Mornings are the best time to reflect, think about the day ahead, makes plans, and get in a bit of exercise in the process. Who knew that this short morning walk would teach me a life lesson?
One of the reasons I like to go on the early morning walks is because it’s quiet. The neighborhood hasn’t fully awakened so there are no cars buzzing by, people talking, or kids playing. Just nice and quiet so I can work in my head; use that time for creating my strategy for the day or writing my next book chapter in my mind.
Then I heard it!
I’m not sure why but all of a sudden the “quiet” sounds around me became super loud and obvious. There were birds chirping. Squirrels playing chase in the trees. Wind blowing. Leaves rustling. And it dawned on me. I come out in the early mornings to avoid the noise around me and in reality maybe I am the intruder. Maybe I am the one creating noise for the other creatures in the world. And what’s worse is that I was so busy in my own mind that I never even took the time to see, hear, smell, everything that was going on around me.
This really got me thinking. How many times during the day are we so busy with our own thoughts and our own agenda that we are completely unaware of the beauty around us? It sounds simple to say that when you’re on a walk slow down and notice the beauty of nature but what about everyday tasks. The next time you go into the grocery store try to actually embrace the experience as you cross items off your list. Smell the bread baking in the bakery. Listen to the chatter in the deli department. Stop for a full 30 seconds in the produce section and take in all the vibrant colors and awesome shapes of the foods that nourish our bodies.
And I encourage you to teach this lesson to your children as well. It is true that we lead by example and for many of us that example is one of working from early morning hours to late in the night. It’s an example of always rushing here, there, and everywhere. It’s an example of multitasking non-stop because we feel as if there are not enough hours in the day. We are teaching our young people that taking time to enjoy the world around us is an inconvenience most of the time when we should be teaching them that it’s a priority for a happy and healthy life.
I still plan on taking my morning walks and I still plan to work “inside my head” during them. However, I make a vow to take in my surrounding before work begins. I will enjoy a few minutes of the walk fully engaged in the actual walk. I will listen to the birds’ song, watch the squirrels’ playful game of tag, feel the touch of the wind, and enjoy the sun on my face.
What can you do today to be more present in the moment? I encourage you to stop, look, and listen. You will have a much better day if you do.