“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” –Zen Proverb

So often we are doing one thing, while focused on another.  While making dinner, we are also lesson planning, instead of smelling the pungent aroma of our spaghetti sauce.  When walking the dog, we are rehearsing the phone call to our colleague about how they missed a deadline, instead of being amused by our poodle’s antics. When taking a shower, we are fretting about the water bill, instead of feeling the hot jets of water soothing our sore muscles.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Earlier this morning, for example, I had occasion to walk from my classroom to the office.  Instead of worrying about my afternoon classes, next semester’s books, or the dead right headlight in my car, I tried my best to simply notice my surroundings, be in The Moment, and be present for the walk.

Here is a sample of what I was able to experience as I walked, unencumbered by other thoughts:

1. A piece of crumbled and toasted white bread littering the hallway.

2. A swallow in the tree, flitting from branch to branch.

3. A puddle on the concrete by the cafeteria, reflecting the lunch tables.

4. The shadows of the trees falling across the beige classroom doors, moving in the breeze.

5. A gaggle of students crossing the quad, chatting and texting.

6. A renegade breeze in a cool, but calm morning, tickling the back of my neck.

7. A twin engine plane moving across the sky, puttering toward its destination.

8. Brown and brittle leaves, curled and withered, dying in the grass.

9. The buzz of saws and boisterous conversation coming from the woodshop class, signalling creation.

10. The humming the air conditioner as I re-entered my class, cooling the room.

By focusing on the immediate moment (instead of allowing myself to be preoccupied by random, irrelevant thoughts) and using my senses (instead of ignoring my environment), I was not only more present in my moment, but meaningfully increased my sense of joy for a world that always exists around me all day, every day–if I only care enough to look. TZT