You, like me right now, are sitting in a coffee shop, with work to get done, agitated by the environment and a deadline. And so you dig five-years-back into your Spotify playlists and put on the Deep Focus playlist: a playlist that suggests its music was designed to get work done. In fact, you, like me, are playing it right now! The environment around you blurs out, and your mind, like a precise blade, can focus on the writing or book or laptop (I think of laptops as fancy televisions) in front of you.

            Before I arrived at this coffee shop, my cousin talked to me about her yoga classes at CorePower Yoga. She said that Yoga allows her to manage her anxiety—that it’s really helpful, and sometimes she gets into dream-like states. She’s still awake though. “Like floating on a cloud?” I asked, “yeah,” she said. Yoga allows her to get energized for work that day.

            On the internet somewhere, there is an app (called Endel) that auto-generates ambient music for focusing, because it’s “scientifically” “proven” to help with productivity. And so I want to imagine and suggest, very quickly, a future where robots make music for us to be productive and relaxed. An auto-generated deep focus playlist, sure. I owned the app for a while before losing interest; I guess I’m not interested in science-music. Maybe it’s better now.

I’d like to imagine a deep focus playlist without the “focus” in the title (lol DEEP). That is, music that slows you down, unfocusing the world without sharpening focus on something like productivity or tasks throughout the day or even preparation for sleep. I’m not quite sure what that looks like—maybe floating on a cloud.

I go to these concerts called “Floating.” The group that puts the concerts on describes them with the cloud emoji. We sit in a park listening to ambient music, like a picnic, sometimes with wine and snacks, a lot of times with the same people week-in-and-week-out. Lay down, watch the clouds. The sun sets, orange streams through the trees.

            I used to watch every sunset, every single day. It’s the best habit that you can practice. It used to be a ten-minute drive into the rolling hills of the central valley, an endless green reaching up to meet a smoggy sun. Then, it became golden-tipped pine trees each day, before it became the sun sinking slowly into the ocean. I collected photos each day, until I realized that I had nothing to do with the photos—they just piled up in an archive. So I stopped. It was a very Endel-style decision for me to stop.

            I also stopped because I have a secret but unrealized hope that the hour of sunsets cannot monopolize the unfocusing moments each day; that I can close this laptop, unfocused, and sit watching the cars pass by in harsh lighting; that I can drive home with my attention on the road but the wind on my arms; that I can walk on the sidewalk and accidentally smell the familiar native Californian plant that I cannot name but instantly recognize and love so much; that the world so sharply unfocused, every moment, opens space to encounter each thing as if it is out-of-place, unique and striking, outstanding and temporary. Unfocused, here I can be, embracing the always-changing shape of the things, falling in and out of this world.