I got home from work this afternoon and was in a bit of a rush. I had lots of things to do but I knew I had to walk the dog before I could do anything else.
So I threw on my walking gear, grabbed the dog and headed out. Usually I listen to an audio book when walking because otherwise I tend to get a bit bored. Today I left my headphones at home because I figured it would be a quick walk around the block so I could head home and get on with things.
And a funny thing happened. Instead of powering around the streets I noticed myself walking slowly.
I noticed myself noticing.
I heard things I never normally hear: the sound of the wind through the trees, the crunch of my shoes on the ground, children playing in a nearby park, the distant drone of a lawnmower, birds above me.
And it wasn’t just my sense of sound that was better – all my senses felt heightened. I noticed the warmth of the sun against my skin, and the gentle touch of the wind. I could smell the sweet scent of early spring flowers.
I even saw things around me that, for some reason, I normally don’t see. One house I walk past all the time has chickens in their front yard. Another has a cute little caravan nestled at the back of their lawn. I found myself noticing tiny details and wondering about them.
What made this walk different from any other walk I’ve taken? I was present.
Rather than rushing through the walk to get home, to get things done so that I could get to bed on time in order to get up early and make it to work on time… I was present in that moment. I was walking slowly and my senses were engaged. I was savouring the moment.
Sure, my heart wasn’t pounding, I wasn’t sweating profusely, nor was I toning my buns and thighs. But I felt a little more alive and a little more inspired, by being fully present in the moment. And now I find myself with a little more energy to go and work in my art journal, something I’ve been ignoring for days.
The word ‘inspire’ literally means to breathe in. By ‘breathing in’ the world around us through deliberate awareness, we can ‘breathe in’ inspiration.
If you find yourself feeling uninspired, take a moment to focus on the present. Savour what is in front of you. Sit somewhere comfortable and sip a cup of tea slowly. Sit in the sun and notice how it feels on your skin. Go somewhere that you can listen to the birds. Take a long bath and luxuriate in the feeling of the water against your body. Notice what your senses are picking up.