I remember back in college my Sociology teacher gave us an interesting assignment.  For the next week, he told us, we needed to drive to and from our home by different routes each day.  We were then to reflect on how the experience affected us.

I revisited this practice at my office recently, when my husband had taken my car for the day.  This forced me to walk to lunch, rather than driving to one of my favorite spots.

Walking down a street that I usually drive down was a very different experience.  Waiting at the crosswalk, ambling over to the other side of the street, and strolling along the roses growing next to the sidewalk was refreshing.  It slowed me down and allowed me to see and appreciate what was around me.

Rather than taking the regular thoroughfare to my destination, I decided to turn onto a street inaccessible to cars as a shortcut to the restaurant.  The houses on this small avenue were delightfully old and full of character, the gardens with a variety of fallen leaves and newly planted flowers.  I relished in the smells of blooming lilac, of moist soil and compost after the rain, and stopped to pet a dog being walked on a leash.  These are small pleasures I don’t get to experience while driving in my insulated vehicle.  They left a joyful and light imprint on my heart.

Our minds fall into sleepy habits, just as we unconsciously drive the same route every day.  If left to what we always do, we never experience anything new.  We become lulled into the dull and ordinary, and we never see the familiar from a different perspective.  To keep yourself truly awake, truly conscious and aware, it’s essential to change things up from time to time, and open your senses to a fresh experience.

Do something different today.  Walk instead of run, take a new route, slow down.  Read instead of watch TV, write instead of read, pick up a paintbrush in lieu of a pen.  Try something you’ve never done before.  Open your eyes to your surroundings, and gain a new perspective on yourself and your world.

Share your experiences here!


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