When I’m not traveling for work, one of the best parts about being home is my morning routine. I love waking up in my own bed, hearing my family get ready for the day, and drinking a cup of coffee from my favorite mug. On these mornings, I also make a point to set aside time for a two-and-a-half mile walk.
I start in my own familiar back yard. There’s a grassy path that starts there and connects to 198 acres of historic farmland. As I start, I pass a small lake where ducks and geese float lazily. Around the bend are several tattered barns, and along the river are old trees filled with hawks and the occasional owl. Couples from all over Tennessee come to this farm to take photos sitting in the open pastures or leaning against the old horse barn.
Words can’t do it justice, but reflecting on the natural beauty of the farm is easy. I can smell the fresh air just by closing my eyes–so why do I find it so hard to open them during my walk? Too often I catch myself watching my steps or staring into my phone instead of appreciating the moment. I have to remind myself to enjoy the sights in front of me–to just look up.
This morning I started my walk as I always do. My dog bounded ahead of me and I took out my phone to connect to my distance-tracking app and listen to some country music. And then I paused. I put my phone back in my pocket before I could turn it on, and I looked up.
The change to my walk was simple, but it resonated with me throughout the day. What a difference it makes to focus on the grass, trees, and sky instead of on the potholes and “gifts” left on the path by animals.
Are You Looking Up?
Now, in mid-February, we’re at a point in the new year where we should evaluate whether or not we’re looking up– and not just during walks, but at work, with our families, and during our daily tasks. Are we appreciating each moment and soaking in our surroundings?
“Looking up” doesn’t refer only to your eyes. It means to be present. Whether you’re taking steps on a path or taking steps toward a goal, here are some practical suggestions that can get you headed in the right direction:
- Embrace something that seems strange to you.
- Apologize when it’s difficult to say “I’m sorry.”
- Do something that scares you.
- Tell someone how much they mean to you.
- Help somebody who needs you.
- Start something you’ve been putting off.
- Do something that’s not your job– maybe even something foolish.
- Call your parents.
Try one of those tips today, and as you do, soak in the moment. You might notice that to find happiness, all you have to do is look up.