How are you doing these days? Are you taking time to not do?
These are the days I find myself craving slowness. As I ride the crest of holiday orders and obligations, mapping elaborate paths of what to do when in order to get it all done on time, I find myself longing for a slow settling back to earth. But I suppose there’s a reason they call it a roller coaster. It doesn’t really ever slow down; it comes to a jerking halt.
I took a tiny bit of time the other day to just sit, and I’ll admit it was glorious. It followed two hours of driving with wind gusts strong enough to knock me off the freeway with a sudden burst. Not my jam. I drive so infrequently these days, what with Alan working from home, my studio a stone’s throw away, and family and friends kept to a safe distance, that when I do it’s always a little stressful. When I got home, I found myself sitting and staring into space while my nerves resettled.
But then, my mind quickly started to wander.
Not to a laundry list of to dos, but to a cloudburst of possibilities. I started thinking about the year ahead, the blank slate in front of me, tabula rasa. The things I wanted to do, to try, to explore.
At first I stopped myself – how not very “in the moment” of me. But then, I let myself go. I thought about my daughter as a young child and how I would curb her tendencies. No, don’t touch that. Stay close; don’t wander. Until I would catch myself and realize she couldn’t hurt anything. Let her go. Curious wandering is what children are designed to do.
And adults, if we only let ourselves.
So I decided to let myself. I grabbed a stack of notecards and started spilling my thoughts. Before I knew it, I had poured out a stream of conscious plan for the year ahead. Yeah, I smiled. It felt right. There on the pages was a jumbled assortment of dreams and ambitions: that class I want to teach, that proposal I want to send, that artwork I want to make.
On another day I might call this sort of thing business planning, but it isn’t. Business planning is what you do when you furrow your brow. It’s structured and Important, and a tiny bit stressful. This was different. It was business wandering. Is there such a thing?? I think there should be.
As we near the holidays and the end of the year, I wish you a little wandering of your own. When it happens, I hope you curb the urge to reign it in.
Curious wandering is what creative minds are designed to do.