When I was a little girl, my mom would take me to her work and for 2 weeks of summer I was part of a vacation bible school. I really don't remember much from that time except one exercise. It was a quieting session (in hindsight maybe it was for the sanity of the vbs teachers...) Feet on the floor, making sure everything was comfortable, with eyes closed, start listening. For a little kid, just sitting still for 2 seconds was extremely difficult (Some days that is still true.) The instructor would list the things they could hear, then confirmation from my ears. When you're little you have no idea why this is important, but over time I have begun using this exercise frequently. It's amazing to be able to hear so many layers of so many things. One by one, then on top of each other, it's almost like an orchestra tuning up before a play. I think about the small and near sounds, my overhead ceiling fan, my feet moving against the top sheet, my stomach that is hungry. I hear small and more distant sounds: a car door shutting, a cardinal call, tires on the road. Bigger sounds like a siren in the distance, honking geese, a blue jay or crow, dishes being put away or conversations across the street. I love the overlapping sounds and the game of picking out each particular one, then trying to relax my mind to take all the sounds in as they bubble up together-some dropping away only to have new sounds emerge. I have noticed that when it is spring and the cardinals have their unique mating trill, that is the sound that puts me back to sleep as I count the "doydoydoy" desperation rapid fire song. It may seem counterproductive to be still while hearing all this, but it is in the paying attention that increases the ability to hear more, to listen and take things in on a deeper level. This exercise can be done at any time. During the spring, my favorite is the 4:00am wake up of all the birds and then the sounds of man as their day begins. It can be done anywhere and anytime and that is the beauty of it.
It causes a break in the day to reset and reflect.
Time out becoming time in.