“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Be aware

Living deliberately

Thoreau went to the woods because he wished to be more aware, to take notice and live more deliberately. He knew that in life we often unconsciously let trivial, inessential things take our attention.

Certain habits can be very useful but habits also rob life of its real interest and flavour. Have you ever gone home from work or school and when you arrived wondered how you got there? It is when we are tired and lack energy that we are most likely to fall into habitual acts and thoughts. It also happens when we are too busy.

The ego-dramas going on in our consciousness also rob us of attention to the world around us and take the focus away from the things that are really most important to us.

However, when we go on holiday or go an adventure everything seems that much more interesting. We can’t be on holiday all the time but there are many ways that we can take notice.

Take notice

Be aware of the world around you, the sounds, the smells, the feel of the air. Be aware of how your body is feeling. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends.

Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Waking up and smelling the roses not only takes you out of yourself, it is interesting, motivating and fun.