As the name suggests, my Philosophy of Doing Less, Being Present and Feeling More, is very big on presence. Mainly because it doesn’t cost a thing to be present which therefore makes it accessible, in a society that often tries to convince us that being well and finding joy can only be accessed for a certain price. Presence isn’t something that we do, it’s a way of being and a way of seeing the world every single day we show up to greet and meet it.
Yet, it’s still a practice as it is a choice. It’s a choice to step out of autopilot and seeing life the same way we’ve always seen it. It’s a choice to look for inspiration in what we take for granted. It’s a choice to shift from thinking only about the past and future to just being here. One of the ways that I choose to be present is by taking myself on exploration dates. It’s a gorgeous way to spend some time connecting to yourself or a place, but it’s such a lovely date for both friends and lovers. You can choose any random place where you live, I often pick a random tube stop and spend the day walking around and seeing where I end up.
Pick a place on the map. In your city or town. Recruit a friend. Or go alone. Explore it. Walk around. Let your intuition be your tour guide. Look around you. Play. Be with it all. Stop to look at the sky nestled between buildings. Sneak a peek into people’s windows. See life happening. Act like you’ve never been there. Stop to eat. Find a bookshop. Pay attention to the small details. Imagine people’s lives. See where you live with fresh eyes. Never stop exploring. You’ll be surprised at what you notice. Life. Adventure. Joy.
That’s what an exploration date is to me. It’s this ability to choose to see the familiar with fresh eyes or to find the unexplored parts of where you live. Be it village, town, city or country. This isn’t a prescriptive how-to guide, use your intuition, there are no steps to follow or recommendations. It’s a choice. To get out and just take things in and let yourself discover. Especially when we start to believe that we can only find joy elsewhere, remember it is everywhere. It is in the small things and quiet joys.
My parting advice for when you’re out in the world, exploring and being present is this: If you start to rush or distracting thoughts come tumbling in (which is normal by the way), ask yourself the question, “wait, where am I right now?” and use that to bring you back to the present moment. Use what’s around you to answer the question.