The State of Play
Every so often, people come to me for advice. “How are you?” I ask. “Life is good. Lots going on. Plenty to do,” says my friend. Then just before her voice trails off, “Perhaps too much.”
In our frantic world of go-getting and Blackberry prayers at the dinner table, there can be little time to catch our breath, let alone think. And think clearly.
The Value of an Empty Mind
The most effective thing I’ve learned to do is to take time out. That’s easier said than done, of course. The trick is to first recognise when your head is full. Then you look out for the next moment when you find yourself sitting still in a quiet spot. You then seize the moment and empty your mind.
Staring out the window is a great way to decompress quickly. Notice all the minutiae your eyes usually gloss over, like that robin staring straight back at you through the window. Or pay special attention to the sounds around you. If you listen carefully, you may even hear Nature’s symphony of spring.
“How long do I need to sit for?” you ask. “I’ve got stuff to be getting on with.”
Taking a moment to pause for breath helps empty my mind. I know I’ve paused for long enough when the curtains of the empty stage that is my mind begins to twitch and fresh ideas skip in, gently reminding me of why I rush around so much. Of how I’d like to live my life.
Time out isn’t just something that can help our children pause for thought. When we’re able to take ourselves to the time out place as adults is when we’re able to become whole again.