Today is one of those wonderful rainy days that invite rest and reflection. For the half-cup empty kind person like myself, such a day is a rare occurrence and one to be embraced. On occasion, a rainy day and I co-exist happily together, feeding on our similar contemplative, brooding natures and snuggling under the covers of introspection. But, not often enough.
It is also the kind of rainy day that called for a walk through the puddles, albeit a walk resulting from the endless prodding of a relentlessly pacing, determined dog whose urgings could not be ignored. I was grateful to him in the end.
So I sweatshirt-ed and hooded and leashed my furry companion venturing out into the pouring spring rain with eager determination. It was not long before I felt invigorated by the cool moist air and my mind began to race uninhibited, sorting through the clutter that always finds a home on the desktop of my brain. My step quickened trying and keep up. Gradually we came into rhythm with one another, my brain and I, and it occurred to me that I don’t often give myself permission to let off the controls. Usually I force myself to “focus” on one problem or another. This was something different and it felt good. Necessary. Liberating.
Last week I wrote about the benefits of “quiet time”. While quiet in a fashion, this was really “think time”, a time of disconnection from purposeful, guided brain activity, even self-imposed quiet time.
I can’t help but wonder how children, who usually suffer through an enforced “quiet time”, might react to the concept of “think time”. Might they be more cooperative and less resistant to stopping the usual activities when given something to focus their attention on, even if it is their own thoughts? Wouldn’t this be preferable to the arduous task of shutting down their eager little minds and bodies entirely, a task inordinately difficult for most? Might teachers instruct them in how to listen to their thoughts, thereby teaching them to listen to their own inner voice, thereby instilling a beneficial life lesson as well as a restful break in activity? Children might see it as a wonderful game of discovery, finding it amusing and engaging and achieving the same results of quiet rest.
For us weary adults, a long walk in the rain, without electronic attachments, is a perfect way to create an opportunity for “think time”. We cannot always break away from the worry and planning and active thinking that our minds too often latch on to, but we can create space and time in our days for the possibility that our thoughts might enjoy an opportunity to find their own path. What might we discover? Today, I discovered a sense of my brain’s own ability to shuffle and sort and integrate without me, freeing up new space and energy for creativity without even trying.