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Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.

The Falling Thing

As your phone slips from your hand, your world shifts to slow motion.

You can’t name the intensity, but it’s so overpowering you can almost taste it as you reach for the plummeting device. Everything is more vivid: the colors are louder, the sounds are brighter, your movement, at least for this split second, mimics the grace of a ballerina.

You are completely in the moment, alert, fully aware of the world around you as the gadget nosedives toward its cracked-screen fate.

Then, suddenly, it’s over. You catch the phone at the last possible second, the panic subsides, and your world speeds up again, covering everything with an opaque layer of dullness, thrust into the prison of daily routine. In a meaningful way, you become less aware—less free.

But it’s possible to channel that same level of awareness on demand, isn’t it?

Instead of dropping the phone, we need only pause and intentionally slow down the world around us.

See—not just look at, but truly see—the colors in front of you.
Listen—not just hear, but actually listen—to the sounds around you.
Feel—not just touch, but verily feel—the ground beneath you.
Breathe—not just inhale, but really breathe—the air around you.

When we recapture this level of awareness, that is when we experience real freedom.

This essay was published in our side project, Minimalism Life.