Part of what she asked us to comment on was "how do we find beauty in the seemingly mundane?". My answer seemed to just discover itself, "Through Mindless Strength".
Though notably ironic, I have been thinking a lot recently about not thinking.
(You may have noticed that trend in recent posts.)
I was brought up to think. I was taught logic, that everything had a "right" answer that could eventually be discovered...and that success came through finding it. Much to my mother's dismay, my dad and I used to debate for hours...just because we could. Much to my husband's dismay, I can now logically debate almost any argument -- playing the devil's advocate for either side of the story.
This has provided me with some strengths I'm glad, at least for right now, have not weakened. I enjoy being able to see all sides of a story, to understand where anyone is coming from even if I don't agree. I thrive on being able to think through a problem. Yet, some of these very strengths have been my worst weaknesses.
I think too much.
(Background Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy, Image copyright LWilson)
Only the past few weeks have brought a fervent effort to change this, but every day before that occurred like this:
I wanted to workout. I would think about getting out of bed to start my workout, then think about the actual process, then think about the other things I could do and how good it would feel to do them, then think that working out could wait a day...and I would never workout.
I wanted to create. I would think about all of the things I could buy, I would think about the websites I was visiting and the books I was reading, I would think about what colors might go together, I would think about how I could cut a particular shape out of a photo and after all of this thinking I'd either run out of time and I needed to start dinner or I was simply too tired. I'd never create.
I wanted to organize the house. I would sit in a room for hours and think about how it could be arranged, I would think about the lists I had in front of me of the steps I could take to categorize the items, I would think about the HGTV shows and the advice they offered, and I would organize all of my thoughts. But I never organized the house.
I could go on. But honestly, I'm tired of thinking about it.
The process of running, art journaling, yoga, creating, and of taking one small step with my right foot without thinking where the left foot might land has freed some part of me that was bound by link after link of mental chain.
- I realize that if I simply move my legs in a running motion and stop thinking about why, I run.
- I realize that if I don't make a list about organizing the house and instead spend that time organizing the house, I will have at least a partially organized home.
- I realize that if I just create instead of worrying about how or why or for whom I'm creating, I will have created art.
And then I forget.
Such is the process.
There are little reminders that I think my soul built in to trip up my mind if it ever starts to completely take control again. For example, there is a quote, "Sometimes it's better to be kind than to be right" that chimes up quite frequently. There are the countless words I've read in delicious books that run through my head like those by Karen Maezen Miller - simple words that blanket a thick wisdom. There are hidden traps everywhere to nip at my mind's nimble feet, secret weapons I keep to allow my spirit the chance to survive.
There are the external reminders that I think the ever-present energy, in her infinite wisdom, keeps serving to me, like a flick in the head. A perfect example?
The other day I was angrily cleaning off a stained white towel - the kind we use for fluffy bath towels that I adore just being plain white like the new fallen snow - the kids had used to wipe up paint. (Not one of my prouder moments). My almost 3-year old daughter sauntered up, leaned down to me, and said, "Mommy, I'm going to give you a smile." And she did. A big one. My heart and my lips couldn't help but smile back.
I have the Strength within me to be kind, to be joyful, to not be snippy, and to take that next running step when my legs feel like jello. I train with my mind to find that strength. It is an invaluable tool, one that I am terrified of ever losing.
Yet it is only when I release the incessant grip of that mind - when I find my Mindless Strength - that I am truly strong.
Think about it.