Wallpaper Stories – “Tuning Out the Voices”
There are many voices in my life. Some of these voices come from people in my life, however, I find that the majority of voices in my life come from either something inanimate or from within myself. One of the stronger voices in my life, whom I call “Jimbo,” is the internal voice that is constantly demanding that I be more efficient and productive with my time. He is the voice that makes me drive at odd hours of the day just to avoid the hell that we Los Angeleans call “traffic.” He insists that I work deep into the night, and wake up early just to get a few extra hours of work in each day. Not to mention that he is the reason I am currently in Palos Verdes at 7:30pm.
After finishing up a client meeting in Palos Verdes at around 5pm one summer evening, Jimbo convinced me that I could get a couple extra hours of work in while traffic died down. Agreeing with that sentiment, I found a nice little spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Palos Verdes Drive, pulled out my laptop and started hammering away at the keyboard. 7:30pm Rolled around and Jimbo politely let me know that most of the traffic would be gone by now, so it was time to head home. Besides, he added, you can be much more productive at home in front of your desktop.
So, I tucked away my laptop, turned on my GPS and began leisurely driving my way back home. While weaving and winding my way South on Palos Verdes Drive, another voice which took the form of a robotic European female, (yes, I chose the European female accent on my TomTom because it is slightly more pleasing to listen to) my GPS whom I call Holly, requested that I “turn left onto South Western Avenue.” However, unlike my typical lemming-like obedience to Jimbo and Holly, today I decided to defy both of their confident and borderline overbearing guidance and make a U-turn.
You see, while driving I saw something that Jimbo and Holly couldn’t. I saw this amazing cloud formation gathering over the horizon. Being that sunset was only about thirty minutes away, I thought that it might be an appropriate time to stop to enjoy a sunset. Shortly after realizing my “error” Holly began furiously spouting commands, “turn right, make a u-turn, stop idiot!” Ok, maybe the last one was a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, Holly is not a polite person and I would say she is borderline domineering. It would be nice to hear a please, or thank you from her on occasion. Holly’s final sentence, “make a u-turn whe…” was cut short as I proudly turned her off.
One voice down and one to go. As I was driving back up Palos Verdes Drive, Jimbo began his rational plea for why I should be on my way home. Jimbo started his argument by reminding me just how much work I had sitting on my plate and that it was irresponsible of me to not be taking care of it. His argument was quickly refuted though as I realized there was nothing that couldn’t wait an hour or even a day. His second argument was a bit more wily, “If you want to relax, why not go play some games, or catch a movie? Sunsets happen every day, they are nothing special.” His argument seemed rational, but then how often am I up on the cliffs of Palos Verdes just before what I think is going to be an amazing sunset? In my mind I turned Jimbo off in the same manner as his infernal robotic European female companion and then thought to myself, why not go one step further and turn off my phone as well.
The car was silent, my mind was silent and I had disappeared from the world. As I pulled into a little park just off of Palos Verdes Drive, I grabbed my camera and tripod and walked out to the cliff line. I setup my camera, and over the next 20 minutes witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen.The clouds swirled and took control of the sky, but left an unobstructed window of space on the horizon for the sun to put on his show. In silence, I observed this awe-inspiring event as I took a personal inventory of myself, my life and my spiritual beliefs.
It was at this time that I thought to myself, this last 20 minutes was one of the most poignant moments in my life and it almost never happened. Voices in our life give us guidance, assistance and help us stay motivated and productive. However, if left unchecked these voices can strangle the pleasure out of our lives. We are constantly living in the future thinking about what needs to be done, how we achieve our goals, where we want to be in 5 years, and how great life will be once we get there. You could say that this is normal since we are humans and as humans dreaming is in our nature. However, are we dreaming so much that we have forgotten and completely overlooked the beauty, enjoyment and blessings of the present?
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