Lately, I’m only partially aware, only half-awake, my eyes shaded to most of what’s going on around me. It’s like part of me in is the room and the other part of me got left somewhere else.
Is it intentional? No. It’s probably lack of quality sleep and being off my routine. Or, maybe it’s hormonal. Or not. Maybe I need more chocolate. Or less. It could be I’m dehydrated most of the time, since I don’t think diet Pepsi and hot chocolate count towards daily water intact. Or could they? Maybe I’m lacking a specific mineral in my diet, so I’m taking a vitamin supplement. Perhaps I need more exercise. (My daughter doesn’t need exercise. She chases an 18 month old energizer-bunny toddler around all day while her med school husband is off slaying dragons.)
I digress. I digress a lot lately. That thing you do when you go to get something but can’t remember why you are in the room you’re in, so you walk back to the spot where you had the thought that you needed something in order to help you remember what you were doing? I do that far too often lately. Like, hourly. Like, way too much. Slows me down, ruins my groove.
I sit down with paper and pen in hand to create a menu for the week and from there a grocery list. I come up blank. The connection from point A in my brain to point B in my brain has a short.
Actually it’s probably more like those strings of Christmas lights my son helped me hang on the house yesterday. One bulb missing or broken is okay. The string still manages to stay lit. Two bulbs out, half the lights won’t come on. Replace the missing or broken bulb and voilà a whole string is working again. It’s a little miracle to me, since I don’t understand electricity.
Now the house looks great and thanks to the stellar design of outside plugs under the eaves and indoor switches, all I need to do is flip a switch and the house is lit up all red and green and cheerful.
I need a “brain on” switch. My brain probably needs a loose bulb snugged into its socket a little tighter. Or maybe one of my neurons cracked and needs replacing. Maybe a few mental bulbs are out along several different strings.
If only a brain fix were as easy as those lights from yesterday’s stringing exercise.
The energy required to make my brain work more effectively isn’t, unfortunately, something I can plug into with a wire and socket. It’s something much more elusive than that.
When I let myself be in nature, breathing fresh air, that’s one of my electrical cords connecting me to the energy of the earth, to beauty, to life. I try to plug into that often, but that’s slipped lately. I’ve been busy!
Magic in a Bookstore
Another power source for my brain is reading, usually. Although lately, reading has been of the audio type and requires less brain power and perhaps less of the written word is absorbed. But I don’t know. I’m rambling now. Rambling happens often lately too.
Recently I was in a bookstore as part of a treasure hunt. Dressed in a fedora, sunglasses and a trench coat, I was to wait until being located by a gaggle of girls, then hand over a clue to each group that found me. Very few people looked at me oddly, which I found strange, since I’m certain I looked questionable. The best part of this was having an entire hour to peruse bookshelves filled with newly minted books. It was nirvana, bliss, heaven and grace all packed into one hour.
When my assignment was over, I ended up buying a book.
It was a real book, not an audio one. Hard cover, with a dust jacket. I took it home and read it that night. Yes, I concentrated long enough to read it in one sitting. Short book. But packed to the brim with wisdom and insight that I’ve needed to learn.
It’s a keeper. It’s one of those books I’ll end up writing in, with exclamation points, underlining, commenting, question marks, maybe even cross-referencing. No, I won’t be lending out my copy. Well, maybe, but you’d have to promise not to read all the margins or make any of your own notes.
The book is Anne Lamott’s “Help. Thanks. Wow. The Three Essential Survival Prayers.” This one sentence speaks to my current need for brain-power and clarity.
“In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness.”
Some of the energy I need is in the created world, not just the natural world. And the energy in that is readily dispersed by my overly scheduled, multi-tasking, transmission-challenged but driven life.
Perhaps if I slow down, notice the beauty around me in the architecture of a wall, the care in the moulding of a door frame, or in the design of a freeway bridge, I might touch some of that energy. If I take time to hear the poetry in a song, or the music itself, or actually read a poem, I might connect a loose bulb in my head. The lights may reignite mentally if I allow myself time to experience art in diverse places and ways.
Energy is captured in the beauty and art in my life, just waiting for me to plug in to that brain enlightening power.
What better time of year than now to look for the light and energy that surrounds us, to gather it in instead of pushing it away. Maybe I can do that. Maybe I’ll get all my mental light strings lined up and glowing again. I can try.