I recently read a blog post where the writer suggested meditation as a way of getting re-balanced and refreshing the mind. I had to agree, writers can get so focused on the project before them, deadlines, rewrites, edits, etc. that we sometimes get a little out of wack. Things don’t make sense, or worse, we’re not making sense. I think frazzled is a good word to describe the condition. Meditation truly does help.
I have used traditional forms of meditation in the past, to great effect. I always feel refreshed and renewed after a good session of stilling the mind, but there are other ways. Many things can be meditative. Runners, for example, often speak of the runner’s high, a rush of endorphins that gives them an almost out of body experience. I have experienced this, both by running and cycling. I also find that a long hike in the woods with the dogs can have a similar effect and is easier on my old body.
What about the rainy days, you ask. Well, I have discovered another form of meditation. Knitting socks. Years ago, when K and I first got together, we were somewhat financially restricted. As the first Christmas approached, we went to the thrift store where she bought several old wool sweaters. She showed me how to take them apart, and taught me how to knit socks and mitten to give as gifts.
I instantly fell in love with the whole process. You take four sticks and a long string, then you magically make socks. Awesome. As I became more proficient at this, I found it became one of my favorite ways to relax. When my brain gets befuddled with the writing project, or other stresses, I retreat to my favorite chair, and knit. My hands already know what to do, so I don’t have to pay close attention. I focus on my breathing, and the gentle repetitive movements of my hands, and the world falls away as my mind calms. It takes only a few minutes to put me back in my happy place, although I often continue for an hour or more.
Oh yes, as K and I became more affluent we began to hear complaints from family and friends. “What, no socks this year? I wrote my letter to Santa, what happened?” Ok, so we went back to knitting. These days, I always have socks on the needles, just in case I need a break, you know, to meditate.