A friend posted an invitation to a unique 10-day challenge: taking purposeful breaks. I’m not sure I really need to take breaks right now–I’m basically on a 10-week break from school anyway. But I do still create structure and routine in my day, and purposeful breaks could actually help with that structure and routine.

Today’s break was to daydream. To be honest, this break terrified me, because whenever I have been instructed in my yoga practice to meditate, I usually end up with a panic attack. I can’t shut off my brain, nor can I trust it to not have a complete meltdown. But challenges are supposed to, well, challenge us, right?

So I pulled the blinds of my balcony sliding door wide open, sat in my office chair and stared outside. At first, it was uncomfortable and it took me a while to lasso the voices in my head. But then I noticed something: the trees looked like they were conducting music.

It’s a hot and windy day here on the prairie, and in the 10 minutes of daydream time, I noticed four distinct wind gusts, each causing the trees to move in a distinct rhythm.

Gust #1 was flowy and lush, timed to the rhythm of George Gershwin’s “Lullaby for Strings”–my most favorite piece of music of any genre.

Gust #2 was a smooth with a lilt, reminding me of Allison Krauss’ bluegrass work.

Gust #3 was violent, and the trees shifted from a back and forth sway to up and down movements, reminding me of the mosh pits of my youth, listening to Nirvana.

Gust #4 returned to a more serene rhythm, in almost perfect 3/4 time set to the “Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker.

In between the gusts of wind, I thought about how music has been such an important part of my life. I flipped back in my memory to walking across BYU’s campus with my Walkman and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” or the soundtrack from “Pretty in Pink.” I listened to every song in order, I listened to full albums. I hardly ever listen to full albums anymore.

My daydream time today reminded me of all the music I own and I craved a return to listening to music before Spotify and Pandora and Genius playlists.

I don’t know if listening to full albums will end up changing my life, but I rather enjoyed staring out the window, watching trees conduct music. I will have to do that more often.

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