Freeing the Mind

Max and I go on a lot of walks. (This is probably not news if you have read some of this blog before).

There are many reasons we go on these walks, but one side effect has become more and more apparent. As we walk, my mind becomes clearer and I am able to think of things in ways I hadn’t been able to all day.

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I often sit in front of my computer for hours and grow frustrated with a lack of productivity and creativity. And then I take Max for a walk and suddenly what I couldn’t come up with in the hours before immediately pops into my head.

Max has taught me the very valuable lesson of freeing my mind.

He has taught me that sometimes I just need to give my brain a break from the strain I put it through. I need to tear my eyes away from the computer screen that is desperate to fill my brain with useless information.

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Moreover, he has taught me that I need to let my mind roam free. I sometimes come up with the best ideas when I am not trying to answer a specific question or address a particular problem. When I let my mind roam, I engage in a type of childlike creativity in which my mind can do some exciting new things.

But too often I constrain my brain and keep it trapped in a gridlock of constant work. I understand that people operate differently and some people need strict frameworks to think through things and come up with great ideas. Obviously, I am not that kind of thinker.

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But what seems to apply across the board is the value of not overworking brains. Instead, it can be beneficial to indulge in a freedom of thought that eases the overworked, overstressed state I think many of us find ourselves in far too frequently.

Often, Max literally begs me away from my home desk in order to go for a walk. And though I begrudgingly take him outside, I soon realize how inspiring and empowering it can be to have that small break and allow my mind the rest and freedom it needs to operate at full capacity. I could even say the same thing for my body, which also needs rest and leisure in order to do its best work.

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Allowing my mind this kind of break also helps me to see things from other perspectives. Max has taught me that when social media sites keep feeding me the same shortsighted lines over and over, I need to step away and both let my brain digest all that it has been taking in and get a bigger picture of the world.

Max has taught me that a mind at ease can be much more productive and have much better quality thoughts than a mind pushed down a narrow path as fast as it can go.

 

So thank you Max for teaching me how to free my mind and for forcing me outside where I can experience a quickening breeze of refreshing thought.

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Pulling Against

Max is stubborn, but so am I. Lately I have noticed how much strain we put on each other during walks. Max frequently likes to dart off to explore a scent or sight and I have to pull hard against the leash to reel him back.

It’s not that I always want him to stay on the path; I understand a desire to explore new things even if it takes you off the path. But I just do not want him darting off wildly. And I don’t want him pulling me along as he darts off. I like my course and I like my control.

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But he lurches off, I hold tight, and when the short leash reaches its length we both feel the harsh jarring of the impact of the force. And my shoulder has really taken a beating.

Somehow, Max and I have a hard time walking together.

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Nevertheless, it seems easier to carry on as we have been even though it causes both of us (I presume) some pain. We don’t have to consider each other too much, but rather just do our own thing. We don’t have to take the time to think about what the other wants to do, we can stay in our own respective worlds.

But that leash connects us whether we want it to or not.

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Max has taught me that we too often pull against each other – especially those we don’t understand well. It is hard to step in the other person’s shoes (especially when they have none) and think about how they experience the journey. So we go our own way, mindless of those to whom we are inherently connected.

And through the struggle against this connection, Max has taught me that it really does hurt every party when we refuse to walk together.

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So, what do we do, I think as I continue to drag Max along the path. There has to be some better way of walking alongside each other. Perhaps it involves stopping on the way and getting to know each other and our differences. Perhaps it involves allowing a longer leash of freedom to be different from one another and to be perfectly fine with going down the same path in very different ways. Perhaps it means taking a chance and following the other instead of insisting on staying my own comfortable course.

Regardless, there has to be a way to see and experience that connection between myself and others as a benefit, as something that allows us to encounter the path in more meaningful ways, rather than something to struggle against.

So thank you Max for teaching me that working toward a way to walk together is much better than continually straining against each other. It may be hard and uncomfortable, but you have taught me that it is worth it so that we might live more peacefully connected to one another.