I’m sure you’re the same. New Year’s Eve, birthdays, anniversaries – any significant date can prompt a reflective mood. I’m sure that’s a mood most will understand; recognize in themselves.
(I guess it’s just a version of ‘It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want To’.)
Being reflective is OK. And even if, like today, it prompts some questions, that’s not a bad thing.
Today, I was surprised by the realization that for a long time I didn’t find my mind drifting like it used to. But realizing what had happened, and finding I can drift again now – that’s all good.
At first I thought of myself as being nagged by the questions that came up today. Questions about how your mind works. But thinking about that now, that’s not really right. ‘Nagged’ is too negative. If you want to call them anything, the questions that were coming up are inspiring.
I like days like today.
There is no need to feel guilty about uncomplicated thoughts.
The Time To Drift
A lazy lunch. Sitting in a pub with a river view. The landlord both worried about the floods clearly visible out the window, relieved to have remained dry thus far.
A day away from it all. Birthday. My partner for company; relaxed, chiming company. We’d celebrated two days previously with six good friends – an evening I’d call wholly flawless. And that’s in every meaningful regard.*
With a few more celebratory dinners planned for the coming couple of weeks, I’m conscious of how fortunate I am. And thankful. I can’t think of a way to improve my life in any meaningful regard.
Today, opening presents and reading cards, the emotion kicks a little. Unexpected. Without a wellspring I’d predicted or tried to guard against. Today, it’s no big deal. There’s nothing wrong with having emotions. Perhaps we all ought to be more open to them.
Today’s lunch included beer, included supping a half of ‘Pressed Rat & Warthog’. Curiosity. I guess you have to be a certain age to be able to refer the landlord to the Cream song of the same name. A certain age or a catholic taste in music across the previous several decades.
And talking of music, Dylan’s ‘Watching The River Flow’ came to mind as we ate and, later, walked. But it was only the title. Whatever else it’s about, somehow the song title evokes something relatively serene, not the confused, at times jostling rush we could see today.
But even a rushing messy river is a passport. It doesn’t take much effort to get lost staring. A passport to drifting.** There are huge gains to be enjoyed from losing yourself.
I’ve always actively sought out time to drift. That glorious time when you’re lost. When your brain is active but without words, without a commentary. And that half-sleep pleasure is fertile.
A jolt. It’s only as I write this that I realise I lost the ability to drift after the accident. And that I’ve only very recently regained it.
A whole raft of questions come with that realisation. It’s perhaps both inevitable and logical that they all come back to questions about the brain. How it works the way it does, and why. I find myself increasingly nagged by a need to understand more about it.
* With thanks. You know who you are.
** Yeah yeah yeah. I know, drifting, water, rivers …
Drifting, daydreaming, woolgathering, reveries and so on – there’s nothing new in the general concept. What we perhaps forget is its value.
Neuro experts will tell you the best thoughts can occur when you’re not actively thinking.