Whatever you are doing right now, stop.
Stop, and give five minutes completely to yourself.
Set a timer, close your eyes, spin around in your chair until you feel so dizzy you think you might fall over.
Do whatever you need in order to have five minutes completely alone.
Trapped in your mind.
The first time I did this, I sobbed.
I made it to about the three-minute mark, then a giant raincloud broke free from the sky, sucked me up, and I drifted off into a saltwater current.
Mistakes, failures, defeat… I felt it all.
The funny thing is, some of the things I cried about happened months ago.
I could not understand why I was feeling them just at that moment… why these feelings of sadness had not changed with the leaves and stayed trapped within the seasons in which I experienced them.
The second time I did this, I laughed.
I stared at a speck on the wall, and before I knew it, it had turned into a million different people and places and things. Like clouds in the sky, I watched a black block on the wall morph into a magical mystery right before my eyes, and it was one of the funniest things I think I have ever seen.
I laughed, and it felt good.
The third time I did this, I did not make it.
I told myself I needed five minutes to myself, but all I could think about was Facebook and emails and homework. I kept peeking out of the corner of my eye in an attempt to see the clock. It was the longest five minutes of my life. Before I knew it, I was back on my phone, mindlessly scrolling my life away, watching other people live their lives in pictures.
We live in a world full of technological advancements, and it is wonderful. Modern medicine has saved millions of lives, technology has allowed for loved ones to communicate across the world, and all of us carry the answer to almost any question in the palm of our hands.
But with this technology, we also spend the majority of our days putting things into our minds. We read and scroll, we bookmark and pin. We consume and consume and consume, and no matter how monumental or minuscule the information may be, it keeps coming in.
We never allow our minds that chance to put anything out.
Think about it.
Wake up in the morning, reach for your phone. Scroll mindlessly until your body is ready to get up, set Pandora or Spotify as you hop into the shower. Sing along to the lyrics of someone else’s song while you get ready. Catch a glimpse of the morning news as you eat your breakfast. Text on the way to the car. Listen to the radio on the way to work.
The pattern continues until you find yourself lying in bed, scrolling yourself to sleep.
This is our life. Day after day, consumed by technology and media. Addicted to input.
Thanks to this input, we do not have to feel a whole lot.
Something bad happens, and we can scroll through Instagram or Twitter to distract our minds.
A weight in our hearts is lifted with the change of a radio station; a broken heart is temporarily mended by the laptop glow, hypnotizing you to sleep.
It is not until you turn everything off that your mind has a chance to truly give you anything back, and it is amazing what it has the capability to come up with if you give it a chance.
Our minds are amazing creatures, filled with secrets and dreams and ideas.
Remember when you were small and you could entertain yourself for hours as long as you had your mind with you? Remember the monsters that used to live under your bed, the imaginary friends that use to accompany you to school, and all of the roles and characters you got to play during recess?
All of those characters still live within you; they are just silenced by the input.
Give them a chance to come out and play. Give your mind a chance to come up with an authentic thought for once. Give your beautiful thoughts a world to swirl around in, a stage for your dreams to dance on.
Take five minutes each day to allow yourself to give something back to the world.
Whether it be through art, poetry, scribbles, or maybe total silence.
Take five minutes each day completely for yourself.
Unless you are too busy, in which case, take ten.