While running down the trail the other day, I saw a number of turtles just sitting in the grass. Some were eating the grass, another just standing outside of his turtle home just basking in the warm sun. One was walking next to the trail. So, I decided to stop running and just slow down and follow. After a few minutes the turtle took a turn from the trail and walked up a hill, I kept walking. And noticing.
To me this was a little message from the turtles to “slow down” – not that I’m a fast runner by any means, but maybe that I was moving too fast in my mind, or in my life, and not taking time to really notice the world around me.
Fear Of FOMO
In this fast moving world where we’re all worried about FOMO (fear of missing out) is seems we all find it hard to slow down, to just be where we are without thinking where we need to be next.
I blame FOMO on technology. We are all so connected, and know what is happening where at every moment, we feel like we’re not living life to the fullest if we’re not “there.”
Because of FOMO, we’ve missed the beauty of here and now. Of enjoying what is in front of us. And of even responding to those who are reaching out wanting to be noticed.
Are We So Far Into Our Shells That We’re Afraid Of Those Who Have Emerged?
We see performers in the street, but how many times have we stopped to enjoy their talent? Are we too busy? Or do we feel awkward being the only one to stop?
Just observe the popular videos of the great dancing girl who’s created a genre of “Dance like Nobody’s Watching” [!check!] who shows us scenes from an airport, a mall, and a small Laundromat, where she dances her heart out and no one stops to admire her talent.
Take the “Washington Post” experiment with internationally famed violinist, Joshua Bell who played in a Washington, DC Metro building and no one stopped to listen!
Are We Always In Such A Rush That We Can’t Stop To Appreciate Life?
Perhaps the message of the turtle is for all of us to come out of our shells and enjoy the sun. Stick our necks out once in a while and take in what’s around us and let it nourish out world.
In yoga, the very word “meditation” also means attention or observation, which is a primary skill of yoga. We notice our bodies in asana, our breath during pranayama, our thoughts during meditation. Shouldn’t we give our external world a little more attention too and allow it guide us towards wisdom? Or at least a little happiness?
Five ways you can increase your attention to the world around you
- Leave your phone at home occasionally. Disconnect from what isn’t a priority. With so much technology tugging at our sides, it’s hard to disconnect from the feeling of FOMO. Turn it off, leave it at home. Be where YOU are – in the moment.
- Pay attention to everything you do, while you are doing it. Live with intent, not from habit.
- Observe with your senses, everything around you at all times. Take time to appreciate the things that make “them” happy. Listen to the violinist, dance with the dancer, watch the painter, feel the sunshine on your face.
- Notice when you are filling your time with unimportant tasks – are you keeping busy to avoid your thoughts, the silence or interaction other people?
- Observe the external as well as the internal. Notice the thoughts that are triggered by the world around you.
Just as we try to do things as quickly as possible, perhaps we need to take the time to be just as slow as well.
By removing our shells, or sticking our necks out, we notice and appreciate the life around us and emerge into the sense of BE-ing.