I've been conducting a little experiment.
I love music. It energizes me, touches me, depresses me, and moves me. But what happens when you turn the iPod off? For example, I usually use the "Cardio" playlist to power me through treadmill time. For the past two weeks, I've braved running without tuneage! It's been interesting - my workouts now channel my inner-Mathlete. I spend the time calculating splits, pacing, etc. This is exactly what I used to do during marathons. (The race rules forbid using headphones.) You'd be amazed how much time goes by calculating estimated finishing times at different paces.
I've turned off the radio in my car on my drive to work (all 2.5 miles of it.) When there is no music to mask them, my thoughts are scattered, varied and ... loud. At first, it was a little frightening. I'm getting used to it - it's like meditation, the more you try to clamp down on your thoughts, the more they careen recklessly.
After two weeks of listening to my inner cacophony, I sat down with a brand new notebook and gel pen (you know how I love school supplies) and just funneled everything I had been thinking - thoughts, ideas, goals, dreams, anxieties - on to the paper.
You'd be amazed how much quieter my head is now. And how much more "in the moment" I feel. And how peaceful I feel having this list/brainstorm of things to reflect on, and ideas to put into action. All told, an experiment with surprisingly pleasing results.