Earlier I discovered that even if my body was still, my mind could be racing. This week I found out that the opposite can happen too, my mind does nothing. It didn’t say ‘Oh she got rid of that clutter, let me drag out the big things I’ve been meaning to contemplate.’
Hmmm. That’s kinda frustrating too.
You ever have a day when you are too tired to move out of the chair you are sitting in? Instead you just stay put. In time you feel like you can lift the remote or get to the coffee pot, and you do. You begin again. Mildly recharged and more capable.
Well I believe it’s the same for your thinking brain. At some point your mind says, ‘Ok we’re done here. Its too much. I have reached overload.’ Luckily your brain has an autopilot feature so the bodily functions that rely on it, like your breathing and beating heart, carry on as usual. But your thinking brain goes on hiatus.
Its not hard to see why that happens. This week while enjoying the porch I decided all of that mind messiness was not welcome. In addition to not helpful devices, I banished non enriching thoughts from the porch. Things like natural disasters, national tragedies, nuclear threats, despicable acts of harassment and abuse, financial fears, business decisions, family shenanigans, anxiety raising discussions, etc, were off the table.
Let me just say – we are dealing with a lot here people. An awful lot. As if all of that hadn’t consumed enough mental energy, consciously removing it took even more. Days passed as I practiced clearing it all away.
“Oh my goodness another woman has come forward… Nope! We’re not going there now.”
“I wonder if they have restored any power in Puerto…Stop it! Not something we are dealing with at the moment.”
Finally I could sit quietly and with a deliberate meaningful breath, clear my mind and… nothing happened. I didn’t return to big insights I wanted to consider in more detail. I didn’t have overwhelmingly inspired moments of clarity. I didn’t contemplate quotes and become motivated. Just crickets.
Like when you are too tired to move, my mind was too tired to engage. Instead it was a big empty room. I decided to use the same approach I do with physical exhaustion. Listen to what was needed (rest) and just leave it at that. When I felt a bit of resilience return, I’d feed my mind with the nurturing things to sustain it.
I flipped through a magazine – no idea which one. I observed what was going on in the yard, without going beyond that. Focusing only on what my senses provided not what my mind thought of it. “Hey a fox.” “I can smell those flowers.” “It’s raining.” “The chair clicks when I rock.” In that space my mind perked up. I literally felt lighter.
I used the Reflection prompts in Maple to find a suitable thought provoking question. Like Goldilocks, I passed on a few that weren’t just right. Then I found one that did what I needed: encourage deeper thought without overwhelming me. I had answered the prompt before but the response I wrote that afternoon was far better. It resonated and was more robust then my earlier one. Yes! That’s my mind at work!
So, another lesson learned.
Deep thought is not simply stuck in a traffic jam of trivial thoughts taking up space in your head. To flourish, its needs a rested mind and practice. It may seem like another To Do, but the results make it a worthwhile investment.
The things we are finding out on the porch! It’s never to late to join me.
#31DaysOnTheFrontPorch #FiveMeaningulBreaths #MapleSomething