Most days I'm lucky enough to bike down to the office. It's only about a 30 to 40 minute ride from our apartment, and so most days, for about an hour to an hour and 20 minutes total, I'm forced to "unplug." I can't read, can't check my email, can't listen to music, or even listen to a podcast (some cyclists put in headphones when they ride, but that seems unwise in DC traffic!).
I have to confess that for most of the time, I tend not to be good at meditation, contemplation, or whatever word you use for being still and alone with your thoughts. But for that commute, I'm forced into it. Sometimes it's a beautiful respite from a busy world. Sometimes the anxiety that I'm feeling about something bubbles up to the surface. Sometimes I'm full of ideas, and sometimes I just take in the "scenery."
But regardless of what the ride is like, I'm grateful for it, and I'm reminded that to pause in contemplation is not a luxury, but a necessity for those of us whose attention is being competed for at every turn. I realize that many of us don't feel like we have the time to step back to pause and reflect on a daily basis, so my hope is that, like me, you're forced into it, and that when you are, you see it for the gift that it is.