Friday, November 7, 2014

PBP: Week 45-Wandering

We talk about how life is a journey and not a destination, and yet so much of modern life focuses on not only where we are going, but how quickly and directly we can get there. We spend so much time trying to save time, so much effort trying to do as much as possible, that even our time off is often spent trying to maximize returns instead of actually relaxing.

I have always been a wanderer, in mind, in body, in interests. I can be focused if I need to be, but my natural inclinations are to wander. I love it when I am doing something and something completely unrelated catches my interest and literally drags me off on an adventure. I don't always follow immediately, so I have notes all over the place. I have post it notes for my computer and tablet desktop, note in my phone, a notepad in my purse, post it's on my desk, and tons of little scraps of paper all over with little reminders.

Sometimes, they are things that I want to research, sometimes they are things I want to do. I keep notes about subjects that interest web browser is full of favorites that are things I want to read but don't have time for right now (and I use a favorite keeper website to hold even more)! Sometimes I make notes to help me remember things while I work on them: chants I am learning, practices I am working with, quotes I want to ponder. I definitely make notes of things I need to remember to do: bills that need paid, errands that need done, appointments to be kept. I even use visualized notes! I have an astral temple that I have worked with for decades now, and when I need to remember something and don't have paper (like in the middle of a meditation or while laying down right before sleep) I will paint it on one of my temple walls so that I will have a note to remember it by!

I really think without my notes, my life wouldn't function.

I also love going on walkabout. Sometimes I walk with no direction, but I also walk to get places. I don't always have a car, and my hubby and I do walk for exercise (a couple miles at a pretty brisk pace over hills), so walking a mile to the store or the library is nothing to me. In fact, in a lot of ways, I enjoy walking more than driving (though I love driving, will get to that in a bit). I have walked like this for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I used to walk to friends' houses all the time. In high school, I would sometimes walk past the normal bus stop (because sometimes the buses were slow...they were public buses, not school buses). There is something very soothing to me about walking, just the act of putting one foot in front of the other.

I used to be on the track team in middle school. I loved the meditative quality of running, and I am built for long distance, so I would have a long time to run. I could easily fall into a trance state while running, and can still while walking. I find that walking gives me lots of time to think, and that the act of moving my body helps me to focus my thoughts better. There are things that only seem to come to me when I am moving, whether it is walking, exercising or dancing. I have to hit that state of no mind (because I am focused on the movement) before the thoughts will flow. I find it very good for problem solving or getting inspired. I will think of the problem or the project I want to work on, and then go do something physical and repetitive enough to drive all thought from my mind, and when I am done, I will have ideas.

Driving can be soothing as well, and the focus required can be good for thought. I have always loved to drive, I like the freedom of it. I have spent a decent portion of my life somewhat restricted. I was a caregiver for my great-grandmother in my late teens, so needed to stay in the house to watch over her. Then I got married and moved, and spent years in a small town with no real transportation of my own (since hubby had the car for work). I went an entire year without driving at all (which sort of boggled my mind when I realized how long it had been). The ability to get in the car and go someplace that is practically unreachable by foot is so incredible, and something I think we often take for granted. I know how far I can get on foot and the world is very small without transportation.

But I do love wandering. I can spend hours wandering through stores. Pretty much any type of store. Whenever I have errands to run, if I am not under time constraints, I will pick a store nearby and wander through it. I am almost never actually looking for anything. Most times I don't have any money, so even if I saw something fantastic, I couldn't get it. I just wander, look at things, and let my mind drift. It gets me out of the house, out of my regular routine, and into a mental place of possibility. Typically I have music going, which further helps to take me outside of my head.

It's kind of a strange thing, but it is very soothing for me. I walk, I look, I touch. I've always been a tactile person, and I definitely need to touch things when I wander. If I am at a store, I will run my fingers along stuff on the shelf, or even just reach out and touch things with my fingertips if they call to me. Outside, I typically will want to touch trees, plants and fences. It's sort of a whole body sampling of the places I wander.

Wandering is a skill, the more you do it the more you become aware of . The easier it is to fall into that passive wander mode, where you aren't going toward anything you are just moving and experiencing. The less likely you are to think about what time it might be or the other items on your daily schedule. From the outside my life seems pretty open and empty (as far as time constraints), and yet my mind is constantly checking the clock and what I know has to be done: how long until my son gets home from school, how long until my husband is home from work, when I do I need to start dinner, when do showers need to be taken so we can all get them done with hot water, when does laundry need to be done, the housekeeping, the bills, the shopping. Carving out time to wander lets me step away from all of that and not be weighed down by the never ending stream of stuff that has to be done to keep life flowing smoothly.

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