There are so many thoughts duking it out for acknowledgement in my head. It’s almost overwhelming. I am thinking about how to maximize the education my children receive, and how to make sure I am spending enough quality time with my aging parents. Also, I am considering my options as I look to re-enter the workforce, prepare to sell an old car, and schedule time with friends. Then, there is the upcoming weekend schedule. As we near Halloween there is much to ponder: costumes, decorations, candy, class parties, pre-holiday fun, and the best route for trick-o-treating this year.
I craved the quiet surrounding me. Peacefulness is what I sought. My brain missed the memo. The silence encourages me to ponder. Life thoughts — husband at work, kids at school, and my action item list — make me restless. The morning caffeine is working its magic.
It’s been awhile. Where does the time go? Can you believe 2012 is well underway? Champagne corks and fireworks exploded days ago around the world. I wish there was a pause or slow motion button available for those extra special life moments. But, life doesn’t stop.
I hope you, your family and friends enjoyed each other as well as the festivities of the holiday season that is now history.
As I ready my children’s return to school, I am thinking about …
1. Helping my children succeed at school.
2. Recovering from a family pukefest that started yesterday at 4 pm.
I had a falling out with my exercise regimen. For nearly two years I stayed the course of mixing up various cardio work outs with interval strength training. The results: less stress, fewer inches, more energy and volumes of blog post ideas.
But, something happened in the midst of summer. I was catching grasshoppers with Issa, star gazing with my husband and drinking root beer flavored vodka on the rocks. The hiatus was only meant for a week.
After a week went by, I still wasn’t feeling the love for a good sweat. Oh well, I thought. Two weeks away isn’t so bad. Then, two weeks turned into three, then four, then … you get the picture … I dumped my exercise.
Since the bust up, I developed a sweat ideology. I noticed an increase in moodiness, stress, inches, and preference for the couch instead of a walk around the block.
Also, I noted more difficulty in coming up with blog post ideas. When I sweat ideas formulate in my brain. As I walk, run, cycle or kick box my mind shuts out the immediate and the detail. My heart beat quickens with my pace and with each big-picture thought.
When my running shoes collect dust and my elliptical is still, ideas I feel at the fringe of being do not have the energy to come forth. They stay locked away. Sometimes they fade. Other times they just wait patiently for me to get out of my chair and step away from my laptop.
What sparks your creative energy? My top eight include cleaning, gardening, and walking. Add in some MP3 tunes from Foo Fighters, U2 or Pink Floyd; and the ideas blow my mind. In fact, I’m listening to Pink Floyd’s Blue Sky as I type.
At times it’s challenging to keep up with what my brain produces during these sessions. I use a pen and journal book to record snippets of ideas while I clean or garden. These tools are old-school. But, they are easy to keep nearby for note-taking.
I have also been taking my camera with me everywhere, recently. That way I am ready to snap a shot anytime, anywhere. While my smart phone has a camera, I seem to prefer my husband’s Canon PowerShot. I think it takes better pictures and provides me with more options for enhancing my impromptu photo sessions.
Visual and written references of big-picture thoughts help me remember ideas when I am at my computer creating. Here’s a look at my Top 8 creative energy sparks… What are yours?
1. Cleaning has three distinct benefits. I end up with a clean house and hours of exercise as well as buckets of material for blogs, conflict resolution strategies, date night plans, and play activities to try with my children.
2. Gardening is therapeutic. What could be better? I am outdoors in the warm sunshine helping nature be beautiful around my home. My creative energy surges as I watch things grow and flourish.
3. Mowing the lawn is an activity my husband and I mud wrestle over. I believe he realizes the same benefits as I do from this mindless, thought-invoking chore. He amps Godsmack on his MP3 and away he mows.
4. Walking after my children go to bed is a mini-vacation for me. It’s one hour of downtime to stride along with the bunnies and frogs while thinking about whatever comes to mind. There are no interruptions for snacks, drinks, advice, phone calls or help with finding the remote control.
5. Running or elliptical training unleashes my competitive spirit. If I need a boost before writing a blog post I go for five miles in 30 minutes while watching some light TV or a movie with eye candy.
6. Listening to music moves me in a number of different directions. The direction depends on so many variables such as weather, mood, energy level, motivation, etc.
7. Writing opens my mind to thoughts I may not have considered before. I try to write without editing. But, sometimes, the perfectionist in me trumps the moment; and stifles the process.
8. Praying/meditation enables reflection on ideas I think have more merit than others. During prayer or meditation, my mind is often cleared of clutter. I just think about whatever comes into my brain. After an hour or so, I seem to feel a better sense of direction on what an idea might lead; or if it just a dead-end to be left behind.
What’s in my head today? The question should be what is NOT in my head today. I think about so much all of the time. Some of my thoughts are productive and some are not. Why does my brain fixate on getting out with friends, celebrity happenings, movies, music, etc. when it really should be thinking about my husband, children, outdoor clean-up, 5k training, domestic and global issues impacting my family, health care, summer plans, etc.? I wish I had a remote control for my head. That way I could just click a button and the right channel would come to mind. Just think of how much more productive I would be each day.
However, I think all this junk in my head does have a means to an end. Most of these thoughts lead me to think about my life in the big picture. Where do I want to be in 5, 10, 15 even 20 years? The pictures in my head help plot my future. In 5 years I want to be a well-paid, published writer. Setting this goal in my head and then recording it for you and I to read is a catalyst for taking the next-steps toward achievement.
Another truth is I have a lot to say about what happens around me and I have a lot to say about people who make impressions on my life. Why keep all these thoughts to myself? My brain cannot continue to store them all and it needs room for all the other information that comes at me every day. Besides, maybe someone else – you perhaps – will have better use for it than me.
Impress upon me your image, your words, your intelligence, your sense of humor, your touch, your lips, your love.
I believe people come into our lives for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is for a lifetime, a single-serving encounter, or a mere flash to our senses.
On Saturday, after completing a Zumba workout at my local dance studio, a classmate and I decided to cool off with a two-mile walk on the Clinton-Macomb trail. Access to the trail, was just across the street from the dance studio.
As we walked, the two of us conversed about children, parents, death, illness, coping with adversity, prayer, pets and cleaning out household clutter. Anyone listening would have thought we had known each other for decades. Despite our brief acquaintance, all conversations touched on such a deep level. I made myself stop and really listen to the significance of the words being exchanged.
With some people, it takes a lifetime to truly understand their connection with us. With others, it takes an addiction to Zumba and a two-mile cool-off.
The buzzard went off at 6:30 am. Should I shower? An extra 10 minutes to snooze? I told myself to take the 10 and then do a 5-in-30 workout on the elliptical after everyone was out the door. But, I knew this workout would not happen. Unless it’s a Zumba morning or it is warm enough to bike the Clinton-Macomb Trail, I am not motivated to exercise in the morning. I showered.
Nutella and Peanut Butter breakfast sandwiches served up with fresh strawberries. Nothing beats two angels waiting for the bus with happy tummies.
I reached for my venti-sized coffee and opened my blinds. At first I saw gray. That was okay. Mornings are all about beginnings anyway. There is no telling how life will play out today and where I might end up before closing my eyes tonight.
Read and subscribed to a couple more blogs about writing. There are so many with helpful resources, thoughts, inspiration, and communities of those experiencing what writers experience. Two discoveries from this morning are Out of My Mind and She Writes.