The Alternative to Thinking All the Time

I overthink everything. This is a known problem for me. Sometimes I can’t enjoy an experience because I’m thinking about it too much. Or I’m thinking ahead to other experiences and not focused on what’s happening right this second. Chris Bowler in his email newsletter, The Weekly Review, expressed an item of note that spoke directly to my own experiences.

David Cain, writing at Raptitude, wrote about not thinking all the time:

One evening last week, I was sitting on my front stoop waiting for a friend to come over. I brought a book out with me, but instead of reading I just sat there and let my senses take in the scene.

I didn’t look or listen for anything in particular, I just let the details of this particular moment in the neighborhood come to me: the quality of the air—heavy and warm, the incoming summer storm kind; birds; two couples having a conversation down the sidewalk; the clinking of dishes coming from inside the house to my right; distant hammering from a construction site somewhere in the blocks behind my house.

I don’t think I’ve done anything like this in years. It’s a focus thing for me. Cain ends the pieces with this call to action:

Life can disappear on us just like a cup of coffee consumed on autopilot. In other words, to really experience life itself, as opposed to just more thinking about life, we need to remember we’re having an experience.

I get this. I really should try to remember to experience life itself. Maybe that’s a good goal for 2019.

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