I made a rather sudden choice today when I went on my Meal Break at work: I sat outside. Over the past year or so, I have been sitting in a far-off break room that is usually pretty quiet except for a few polite greetings. I have any number of good memories in that spot and I will be back tomorrow, most likely. I wanted a change in mindset. I had this very enlightening weekend and wanted to carry that into this break. My line of work is a constant rush of material coming at you at galactic speeds. I think even Mr. Tuvok would be overwhelmed at times. I use my lunch to review the news or social media in all its complexities. Today, however, I wanted something different. A change in scenery does wonders for the mind. I had a complete experience. I recalled the other times in the past where I had eaten outside with a similar feeling. Removed from the grind of everyday matters, yet acutely aware of my surroundings. The sound of the interstate and a fire truck’s high-pitch whine because of unyielding traffic. They ground me from thoughts of anything too far away. I embrace these moments with everything I can muster. I need these moments of peace (even when the physical location is not very peaceful). I am sure most of us would benefit from this type of mental rest.
The mundane chores of my weekend reminded me that a simple change of habit points me to my goals. I know this sounds a little “on-the-nose”, but it is true. My example for today was running the dishwasher one extra time to make sure that my counter was clean. A clean counter opened up a place in my mind for other things. This feeds right into my journey of Minimalism. I know Josh and Ryan have written and spoken about the different ways to de-clutter. This was a good example of the physical enhancing the mental space. The less items you own, the easier this is to achieve. I am not selling everything and moving into a tiny home….yet.
I am, by most measures, an Introvert. I would say that I am closer to the center, but leaning towards the “I” of the scale. I have actually been meaning to retake the Myers-Briggs test again. My results seem to change each time I take the test. I hope this is a sign of growth and change as I gather more life experience. If you told me 5 years ago that I would be more reserved in my manner and personality, I would have told you that you were crazy. I cannot explain how moving out on my own changed the “me” over time. I most certainly wouldn’t have thought that I would take poems and put them into a book or be writing a blog post twice a month. This little change in my daily habit at work opened up all these old and new thoughts.
Recently, to flex my creative side, I use these times to think of poetry ideas. Artistic expression comes to the artist out-of-order and jumbled. I know that most writers would agree. From poem to novel, nothing comes in the exact package you end up with. Even something as simple as what you are reading now was mixed up and washed and folded into something new. Laundry metaphors aside, I believe deeply in this idea. To make sure I am embracing the most positive side of this personal exploration, I take comfort in the change. It would be far too easy to call the change a lack of structure in my life and that I am falling off “the path” that I have been following the past year or two. “Um, yeah, that is the point…” If habits are never broken, good or bad, you will never see the light ahead of you. I have been in a “less than happy” place recently. One of the main ideas of this ongoing feeling is that I have become stuck in a routine that only looks backwards. At best, I was stuck in the present, unable to even imagine my future more than a few months at a time. The rational side of my brain always plans out in those small segments. My imagination should not be limited by these very structured timelines. I want that side of me to break through the norms of the current culture. Even the concept of the imagination being trapped by such binds seems strange.
Have you had any similar experiences recently? What are the ways you find inspiration when you are feeling down? I would love to hear about them!