A Messiness of Mind

I'm enduring a messiness of mind this week. Estock_commonswiki_303408_l

It feels like I've been on a full-out run since mid-December. There's the mad Christmas rush, of course, followed by New Year's and my daughter's birthday.  And then I had to get organized for my trip to Nashville last week, which was more complicated than usual because I was also presenting a workshop.

On the two plane flights home, I had terrible problems with the air pressure changes (that'll happen when the pilot descends from 20,000 feet when you're only 60 miles out) and so ever since I've been struggling with a head as congested as a stuffed sausage.  That's what it feels like, actually.  I keep thinking that there's no room for any extra thoughts between the usual synapses in my brain.

And to top it all off, I arrived home Monday night and stepped right into a full schedule on Tuesday, with appointments during the day and every evening booked.

I realized this morning while writing morning pages that I've simply not had time to clear the gunk out of my brain (and the damn congestion doesn't help). But here's the deal.  My surroundings echo my mental state. My office is a mess, with piles of journals and notebooks here, books I've pulled off shelves there, and papers everywhere.  And after reading a blog post from my student and friend Leisa Hammett, I've realized how big of a problem this is for me.  I looked around this morning and decided I need to get myself organized, pronto.

But a messy office is just the physical manifestation of my messy mind.  Here are some of the things I haven't been doing that usually contribute to a better mental state:

My morning ritual.  I am managing to write morning pages, but usually I spend time in meditation and prayer, contemplating life, and doing a bit of inspiring reading also.  That's all out the window.

Meditation.  See above.

Exercise.  I'm a lifelong walker and usually it takes barely anything to get me out the door.  Not lately.  Its too cold, or its too wet, or its just too too.  Basically, I'm just too lazy.  This must change.  My body is complaining to me, loudly.

But here's something I have been doing a lot lately that I believe has an enormous impact on my well-being:

Reading.  I'm always reading something (usually about 5 somethings) but lately I've been on a run of reading especially good books (The Hunger Games, The Help, a couple of non-fiction titles).  There's no better way to spend downtime as a writer than reading.  It informs, encourages and teaches us about our craft in every single aspect.

So, with luck, with any luck at all, I'll get my office organized this weekend.  Right after I finish the last 100 pages of The Help.

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6 Responses to A Messiness of Mind

  1. David Paine 01/23/2011 at 11:36 #

    I applaud your resolve on de-cluttering your office. Despite the tidiness of my living space, my office – wherever it has happened to be at any given time – always looked like a trailer park after a tornado. Still does. I wonder sometimes about the cosmic implications of this. About why someone who is, at core, pretty lazy can manage to keep his modernist public rooms more-or-less pristine (I even make my bed. Every morning.) and let his work space be such a chaotic mess.

    Over the past 30 years, wondering is about as far as I’ve ever gone with this question. Perhaps your post will prompt me to go farther. Lent is right around the corner.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 01/23/2011 at 14:25 #

    Well, I have to admit that I am much the same. I do make the bed every morning, and I’m pretty good at keeping public spaces tidy. But, like you, my office suffers. What happens with me is that I get to a certain point where I can’t take it anymore, where it feels like the messiness is overwhelming me and then I have to clean. It is not that I can’t find things, because even when my office is at its worst, I always know where things are. Not sure if my writing life would be better if I were neater, but I’ve given up worrying about it for now.

  3. Leisa A. Hammett 01/24/2011 at 12:48 #

    OMG! I came here to grab a link for a future blog post and was BLOWN AWAY. Charlotte, I LOVE your new site! KUDOS! Impressive! Good for you. I am drawn in. Not distracted. I’m lured. I’m calm. I’m invited. Oh. YAY!

  4. Charlotte Dixon 01/24/2011 at 15:41 #

    Thanks, Leisa, I’m glad you like it, I like it too. Have a few more tweaks to make but these things take time. Lots of time. Anyway, thanks for coming by again.

  5. Meditation Techniques 01/28/2011 at 05:50 #

    Hi Charlotte,

    I came across your blog while searching for interesting meditation blogs.

    I have to agree with you, clutter on the desk usually equals clutter in the mind. I found using the Getting Things Done process worked for me. Because you could meditate in the morning, then come to a chaotic desk, and the meditation benefit might ooze away pretty quickly.

    Hope you got that previous morning ritual fired back up.

  6. Charlotte Dixon 01/28/2011 at 07:20 #

    Hi, Thanks for dropping, I’m going to go check out your blog for some tips. Yes, it really is amazing how much my surroundings reflect my mental state and vice versa. As the ancients said, as above, so below.

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