Lose Your Headphones

I am the queen of multitasking. AKA- Lover of making good use of time. When I am in the car or go on a walk, run, hike, what-have-you, I am always either listening to something or talking to someone. My purpose will be multi dammit! There has only ever been one time that I can remember not listening to something while hiking and that was from fear of a bear (true story).

As I set off this morning for a 3-mile walk at 6A, (I’d pre-planned a call with a mastermind buddy who was on the East coast so the timing worked out perfectly) I realized I couldn’t find my headphones and it was a tad too early to wake my husband asking for his. Worried she would call while I was rummaging and looking for the headphones and wake up my household, I decided I could easily enough hold the phone to my ear for our chat and walk at the same time.

Off I went, sans headphones but full of optimism.

She didn’t call so I tried her. No answer. Hmmmm. Very unlike her, she’s organized and prompt. I texted. Nothin’. I’m already up and a good 5 minutes into my walk so there’s no turning back. I jaunted down the street, hopeful she was just running late and would be ringing me soon. In the meantime, I would say my 5 things I’m grateful for, a morning practice I began a couple of years ago and has VASTLY changed my life. That wrapped up rather quickly and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I was (egads) WITHOUT. MY. HEADPHONES.

Alone with my thoughts during an unintended period of time is very different than meditating on the living room floor. That’s planned and I know I’m going to be quiet in my mind. This time, I’m out in the world with nothing to distract me while I’m walking for another 50 minutes!

Resigned to my current state, I began to look around. I always have my eyes open (be a short walk if I didn’t) but I started to notice things I’d never seen on my walk. That ginormous tree is actually so slanted, I’d be concerned to be its neighbor but find it to be a beautiful nature’s version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Not sure I’d have seen as many butterflies flitting about. I know I would have missed making eye contact with all the other people walking this morning. And I smiled at them as we said “Hello” or “Good morning” to each other. As I passed one couple, the elderly man quietly said “God bless you” to me. It was so lovely. I hadn’t even sneezed! Just a blessing, for no reason, other than to be nice. I totally would have missed that, or he might not have even said it, had I been wearing headphones.

And once the flurry of thoughts and my to do’s flew out of my head (thank you Siri for taking dictation of my notes) my mind was de-cluttered, allowing bigger thoughts, questions and ideas to reveal themselves. This is hard to achieve while your attention is divided or if you’re experiencing divided consciousness.

And so, I thank you missing headphones, wherever you are. You gave me a gift of awareness this morning I’m sure I’ll resist again but promise to revisit more often.

PS. My friend whom inspired this morning’s experience is FINE and ready to talk on Thursday, as was our original (actual) appointment. Guess I was 4-days-too-early excited!

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