Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Open Mind

I just returned from a week long vacation in Florida that was very much needed. It made me acutely aware of how frazzled and stressed my mind has been. As I expected, it took me a day or two to allow my mind to relax. I slept A LOT that first day. I had no idea how exhausted I was. The second and third day I tried to write, but I couldn’t. My mind was tight and restless. No room for creativity to ebb and flow. I became aware of how fatigued and unhealthy my mind was, not just my body. I was frustrated. This is my chance to write and relax, I thought. Why can’t I do it?

My mind needed rest and relaxation. Healing. Space.

This was a new concept to me.

So I gave myself permission to not make any demands of my mind. To slowly unwind. To nourish it by absorbing nature. To sit in silence. And slowly that tape recorder voice of incessant thoughts, to-do lists, worries, and demands slowed down. Stop completely? No. But I didn’t expect that of myself.

I don’t know why, but whenever I go on vacation, I get a wider view lens of my life. I’m the big tree by the ant hill rather than the ant frantically building its sandy home. I get a quiver of excitement, suddenly seeing the changes I need (and want!) to make. Everything is so clear! There's something about that physical distance which seems to create an objectivity that I don’t normally have.

When I return home, sometimes I’m the ant who loses the vision, and gets sucked into the daily grind. Sometimes I make small changes in my life. Sometimes it takes several vacations before I make a change.

Before I lose my widened view, I want to share my personal insight. Nothing spectacular. It honestly is common sense, but like I’ve found with many logical ideas, it’s hard to implement in every day life.

If I want creativity to unleash, to write anything with beauty and awe, I need a rested open mind. It needs nourishment, not fast food. It needs sun and quiet and less technology. Less distractions. I can’t speak for all, but this is a sampling of the nourishment my mind needs. How do you nourish your mind? Could your mind be starved and stressed without your awareness?

I easily fall in the rut of a junk-filled cluttered mind of thoughts about work, worries, things that need to be done, text messages, constant advertising, Facebook, and mindless TV. It’s been so brimming full of garbage that the ground is barren. My mind needs fertile soil if any creativity is going to flourish.

If all I gain from my vacation is awareness, so be it. As much of a lover of fantasy, philosophy, and daydreams, I am a realist. Old habits are hard to break. But if I am more aware, then I am not a zombie lost in its own destruction.


Jennifer Armintrout said...

I find that if I don't avoid absolutely everything to do with my career at least once or twice a year, my work really suffers. But as writers, we kind of think, "My god, I'm not writing! What am I doing, enjoying this free time? I should be writing!" It's such a weird thing, to have to tell yourself to stop writing. It's like going to rehab or something, to go on vacation.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I'm glad you got some rest on your vacation. I'm like you - I can't be creative when I'm tired or under stress. Maybe your awareness will result in some de-stressing and you can write about a woman who went through what you did!