Discover Your World: Ways to Live Present
Discovering your world is closely linked to living present and both are an intentional act. There is a mindfulness behind them. I won’t pretend it’s the easiest thing to do. It’s not.
We live in a time where we are bombarded with stuff and it’s easy to be distracted. Culture moves quickly and wants things instantly. To silence the noise and zoom in on where you are takes practice. It’s a steady, day by day process. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been pursuing a more present life for a little over 3 years and I’m still learning and growing. Now, taking time to live present has invited me into a process of discovering my world; and in this journey, I’ve found myself to be more grounded and content. Some days are better, even easier than others. For context, I live very close to the city and spend most of my days there. Living in/near a city and trying to live present is basically being a salmon swimming against the current: it’s counterculture.
So, how do we do this? How do we live present---mindful, taking time to discover our world, when we live in a time that is fast-paced and filled with so much?
Solid question. I believe there are a few ways, some are small while others are pretty daunting but totally worth it. I figured I’d share ways you can make living present and discovering your world an active part of your life. It's not a long list, but these are things I’ve learned, some I’ve tried, and some I plan on doing.
Go walking without listening to music or a podcast.
I work in the city and this is something I try to do as often as possible when I go to grab my morning coffee or take an afternoon leg stretch. Walking to my favorite coffee shop with the sounds of the city as my playlist, challenges me to pay attention to the little things and simply listen.
Take a different route to your favorite spots.
Sometimes, to find joy or even discover something new requires a new perspective on a familiar thing or space. Driving or walking a different way than your usual is a great way to discover your world. When you take this different route, pay attention to things you see.
Unplug for a day or a weekend.
This is completely inspired by Roe and E of Brownkids. They are a dope, vegan-minimalist couple who challenge the mess out of me every time I see their posts. About two weekends ago, they challenged their IG community to unplug for the weekend whether it was one hour, a day, or the whole weekend. Unplug in this sense meant all things electronic: no cellphones, no laptops, no wifi, no social media. NADA. Just you and your world without all the distractions. I did it for a day and I found myself more present. I spent time with a heart friend and even worked on my novel. It was hard and I’m pretty sure I finessed it, BUT it’s definitely something I will consider doing quarterly. Sometimes, you just need to break away so you can fully show up where you are.
Take a week-long social media break.
I’ve done this intentionally and unintentionally to the point that my time on social media is super decreased especially on my personal pages. This ties into the unplugging bit, but let’s be real. Social media as amazing and powerful as it is, also holds every temptation and comparison trap. There are days I’ll find myself mindlessly scrolling through people’s feed, ogling their highlight reels. A lot of times, this just invites comparison to come and get real comfy in my mind and heart and honestly, doesn’t profit me anything. Try taking a week-long break from your Instagram, facebook, snapchat, twitter. Turn off the notifications from those apps or just delete them all together. Take note of how different your day is; notice what makes it hard and the amount of time you find you have.
Wake up early and follow/watch the sunrise.
Nature is a beautiful teacher when it comes to being present, slowing down, and relishing the details. There is something magical about being up when the sun is rising and nature is waking up as well. I challenge you to wake up early one day and watch the sunrise. Follow it and witness how the world responds.
For one day, try and pay attention to the details of your everyday tasks. Write down what you see.
This is a very intentional task. But, I have found in paying attention to the details of the mundane, I find and discover something new. Try observing your world, your habits. Look at the details of when you make a cup of coffee in the morning or get dressed for work. Whatever tasks you do every day out of habit or routine, pay attention to them; celebrate them.
Be a tourist in your own city/town.
I live near Washington, D.C. and it is so easy to forget that I live near and work in such an influential place teeming with hidden spots and history. Being intentional to discover my city is such a key to living present and also finding joy where I am. I love to travel and desire to live in a different city in the future. It is to crave that adventure and completely dismiss the beauty and gold right in front of me. I encourage you, wherever you live whether it’s a city or a small town, be a tourist where you live. Get away to a nearby town, do day trips or find out all the things tourists do where you live and do them. When we intentionally put ourselves in the shoes of someone else or pursue discovery from a different angle, the joy found in a place so familiar to us gets to be something we tap into and experience as well---not as a distant observer but an active participant.
Discovering our world, living present is not mere talk. It gets to be an active part of our lives. To live in constant pursuit of finding the gold where we are, being mindful of our surroundings is freeing to say the least.
How about you? What are some ways you go about discovering your world? Have you done any of the above? What was that like for you?
TWLDISCOVER CHALLENGE #4
Using this list, try one of the items above before the end of March. Share your moment via the hashtag #TWLDiscover. If you choose to unplug or take a break from social media, share after or right before unplugging.