The exercise in general terms: Take an ordinary trip or task and make it exciting, fun, and enriching simply by opening your eyes, doing it differently, and letting go of the outcome, at least a little.
For example, if you, like me, go grocery shopping with a list—a very reasonable and helpful practice—then you probably do what I do, which is walk into the grocery store, decide to get a basket or a cart depending on the size of the list, and go as directly as possible to each item, racing then to the cash register to pay and get out as quickly as possible. It’s efficient, and you get what you need and little else. In other words, shopping with a list can save you time, money, and possibly calories.
On the other hand, it is the antithesis of curiosity.
So, if you’re going grocery shopping today, why not leave your list in your pocket? Don’t cheat and simply go to the items you think were on your list. This is not a test of your memory. Walk through each section and take in what is there. Maybe even think a little about what those products—the products you otherwise never even look at—are good for, and who buys them. Take in the colors, the sounds, the aromas, the temperature (the Five Senses exercise ;-)). Try a sample if someone is handing them out. Try not to push past the other people in the aisle in a hurry. Be curious about them, too. And be curious about how all this feels for you. Do you enjoy slowing down and noticing new things or does it make you feel tense? Do you find any benefits (or disadvantages) to shopping this way? Is this a practice you would like to build into your life more often? And, don’t worry, you can do this and still make sure you get everything on your list. Just pull your list out of your pocket before you go through the checkout line and check.
Tomorrow I’ll post an example of this from one of my favorite books.