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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Fascination

I am fascinated by this new method of sitting on the couch…

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But, more to the point, Max and I have now walked every path surrounding our apartment many, many times. I am glad there are many options, but after several months we have exhausted any new places in walking distance.

And that bothers me because I really like new adventures. I like seeing new places and doing new things. About the only thing I could do everyday is watch the sunset and drink jasmine green tea.

Yet, I still have to walk Max and there’s only so far we can go.

But Max has a different outlook on these walks.  No matter how many times we walk by the same patch of grass or the same tree, he is endlessly fascinated by it.  So much so that I often have to drag him away.

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How can he have such wonder at something so mundane? How can the same thing, day after day, still capture his attention?

As I thought more about how he gives himself over to such fascination, I began to realize that there is always new beauty and new adventure in every moment, in every blade of grass or tiny snowflake.

You don’t have to go to Hogwarts to find magic, for it pervades the world.  You don’t have to travel to the Lonely Mountain to find adventure – it bubbles up throughout Middle Earth, even in the Shire. (Though don’t get me wrong, if I had the chance to go to Hogwarts or the Lonely Mountain, I wouldn’t hesitate.)

Moreover, Max has helped me realize that fascination keeps us from being arrested in our routines. We may still do the same things, but they have the potential to be interesting in new ways everyday.  And because things fascinate us, we explore their intricacies, which leads to inspiration and innovation.  For without a fascination with the key of D flat major would we ever have gotten…

(Or, fill in with whatever great composition you prefer.)

Instead of trudging along or blindly pushing past meaningful people, events, and things, fascination leads us further up and further in!

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So thank you Max for not only being fascinating, but also teaching me to take notice of what is around me, to allow fascination to rise within me.  Thank you for teaching me to look for and expect the wonder, beauty, and life that is everywhere in this world we inhabit – especially in the paths I walk everyday.