January 26, 2017
In the world we live in, it’s hard to escape the news. Whether we have CNN or Fox News playing in the background, listen to NPR in the car or are constantly refreshing Twitter, we are faced with a barrage of information. This cycle of action, reporting and analysis plays out over and over and can be all-consuming of your time and energy, but you don’t have to let it.
As smart, creative, engaged individuals, we all want to be in the know. I applaud the effort put in to be an informed citizen, but I would encourage you to take some time to remove yourself from the flow of information and just be present in the moment and in the place where you are. For some of us, it’s as easy as going on a walk without checking Twitter. For others, the lack of activity lets our minds wander to the worries and concerns of daily life. I’m going to share three ways I’ve found to let myself be more present, and I hope that you can find what works for you.
Every Wednesday night I have choir rehearsal at the Basilica of Saint Mary — yes, I am literally a choir boy. The process of learning and singing pieces of choral music with 85 other singers forces me to clear my mind of anything else that may have been weighing on it. Both the community and the activity encourage being completely present in the moment and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Back in high school, I had an English teacher who was a bit of a hippie (understatement) and he ran a meditation club after school about once a month. Meditation, if given the proper chance, can be the best way to clear your mind of worldly concerns and just be. For those who are skeptical of meditation and feel ridiculous trying to clear your mind, I would suggest going to a group meditation class. These classes provide a space and a collective energy that will make it much easier to let the world go.
I’ve always been a fan of Legos. The process of following directions and putting something together piece by piece is extremely cathartic for me. Recently, my girlfriend brought me a metal model of the Wright Brothers’ airplane from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Building this model was stressful at times, but the activity got me out of my head and into what my hands were doing.
The moral of the story is: Get out of your head for a while — your brain will thank you.