My friend, the things that do attain The happy life be these, I find: The riches left, not got with pain; The fruitful ground; the quiet mind… -Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
Last week tragedy struck my iPod shuffle. What started out as a low battery issue morphed into a complete FUBAR of my trusted gym and running buddy.
In the past when I got the blinking red dot letting me know it was time for a recharge, such an event brought my run or workout to a stop (more so with the latter, and didn’t matter if I was in the middle of the run).
I thought the matter would be easily resolved. Plug it in for a few hours, done and done. Nope. Red blinking light turned into yellow-yellow-green blinking light.
I thought for a second about just using my iPhone music playlists, but I try to get my technology separate for Murphy’s law reasons. And as a long-term solution, of course, I could just buy a new one. But no.
The day my shuffle died I bit the bullet and just worked out, and ran the next day–without music. And then the next, and on.
The experience (and it was because for at least the past six years, physical exercise was accompanied by music) was very interesting from an introspective standpoint.
Running outside, of course I heard cars passing by, the wind, bird, insects, and so on; but what I found most enjoyable was hearing the even rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, and my breathing as I pushed forward. Sounds that are hard to hear over 50 Cent or the Black Keys.
I’m a big fan of active mediation, taking an activity like shining your shoes, sweeping the floor, or running in my case, and tuning out everything but the present situation, the task at hand. The practice relaxes me, and gives my mind “quiet time” to process the information and thoughts that accumulate over the day.
Sometimes it’s good to sit still, but for if I can get the same benefits while accomplishing another task, why not.
Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely get another iPod shuffle (if I can’t deduce the issue with my current one)… Just decreasing my use a bit.