What I learned from taking off my headphones

Life can be hard. It can be confusing and distracting and it’s easy to only see the negative. It’s easy to try to drown out everything around us in order to ease the pain, to make the things we don’t like seem a little easier.

The other day when I was running I was hit smack in the head with the realization that I was trying to drown out my surroundings a little too much – a little more than I want to admit.

Usually, when I go for a run I have my headphones on, blasting some music or a podcast or another audible book. It’s a great way to learn a lot and read a lot of books, but lately, I find myself constantly switching the music, skipping the songs, going to a different book, etc.;  because none of it seems satisfying.

The constant switching was driving me crazy in a lot of ways.

It was slowing me down because every time I had to take my phone out of my pocket to switch it up, I had to slow down my pace and look down, but also constantly be looking up to make sure I didn’t get hit by a biker or run into a fellow runner. This, of course, was not good for my run; it was distracting, and also dangerous. 

So the other day I finally gave up and took my headphones off, put them in my pocket, put my phone back in my pocket, and decided for once, to listen and pay attention to everything that was going on around me.

And guess what? My run was AMAZING.

It’s springtime here, so the little birds were chirping in my ear. I paid attention to each passerby on the path, giving that familiar “nod” when you are both runners or walkers – that, “Hey, good for you, getting out there and exercising” nod.

I smelled the fresh spring air, quickly turning into a humid summer, and my eyes seemed to suddenly have the ability to see in 3D. I could see the colors of the flowers and the trees, and I even noticed that they filled the little pond in the middle of the park that had been dry for so long.

This experience made me think about all the things that I miss in my day to day life. It’s easy to focus on things that you don’t like and living life mostly inside your head and through your own thoughts, but the reality is that life is happening ALL around you. Every moment there is something happening, and I truly believe that there is magic to be found in most of these moments.

I’ve been searching for the tiny magic moments for a couple of years now, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it – it’s mostly natural for me, but I have to admit,  I still fall into the trap of distracting myself from my actual life through music and people and podcasts and books and my own thoughts, as well as finding myself focusing on things I don’t enjoy or like in my life (because let’s face it, we ALL have them, no matter how flowery things look!)

Life is happening all around us. There is pain and suffering and hard days. But there is always something beautiful.

I recently heard someone say that if you spend enough time with someone you don’t like, you can almost always find SOMETHING you like about them – and I truly feel this is true, with people and situations and LIFE.

There is always a silver lining, thin it may be; but there is ALWAYS something to hold onto when the nights seem bleak and dark.

So today I encourage you to take off those “headphones” and open your eyes – look and see what’s around you – find the tiny magic moment that might have been there the whole time but you just couldn’t see it.

There’s magic in this world, and there’s abundant love to be found – as long as you open your heart and eyes to it <3