Posted in Coaching

The Idle Brain

We’ve all had those sudden strikes of inspiration, moments where an idea materializes so vividly that you have no choice but to get to work.

Those moments aren’t the rule though. They happened to me more often as a kid and teenager. Now, as an adult, I find that they rarely happen. 

Why?

Scientifically those moments of inspiration, ideas, etc are more likely to happen when your brain is able to idle. For most people, an idling brain is a difficult thing to come by.

If you’re like me, a parent working full time, caring for pets, home, and seemingly everything else, there doesn’t seem to be time for your brain to idle. There’s always something to do.

Not only that, we live in a society that so prioritizes “multi-tasking” and “working well under stress” that it’s no wonder we can’t let our brains idle. We’re conditioned to be busy, especially in the workplace where the idea that if you aren’t busy then you aren’t working still prevails. 

Let’s talk for just a second about multitasking and what it really means. For years I thought multitasking meant being able to jump from task to task and get many things done at once. In reality, multitasking is just misdirection. 

Every time you leave one task to work on another you actually perform slower than if you were to just focus on one task to completion. If you are constantly moving from one task to another then it’s likely you feel that you never actually get anything done.

In a world that embraces a constant busyness, how do we allow our brains to idle?

One method is putting our physical bodies to work on something that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower. The brain is always working, it never stops but if we do things that require simple physical rote memory and not a lot of brainpower then we have the ability to set our brain into idle mode. Examples are taking a walk, hike, gardening, even cooking – without distractions meaning no earbuds or youtube to keep you company. This may also be why we sometimes zone out while driving, it’s a rote activity that allows our brain to slip into idle mode.

All of this is great but how do we find time in the midst of everything else to let our brains idle?

If you’re completely booked up then schedule time. You can set aside 10 or 15 minutes to take a walk outside or to find a quiet place to just sit and let yourself daydream. At first, you may not be able to set problems aside and just let your mind wander, that will also take practice. Like meditation, when thoughts come up during this time, acknowledge them and move on, don’t move your focus to them. Listening to nature outside or using a mindfulness app to help guide your thoughts can also be helpful. 

The more you practice, the better you will become at allowing your brain to idle and the more benefits you will begin seeing from it. 

As a coach, I help people develop their creativity through this practice and others, if you are interested in learning more contact me here.

Photo from the Pexel’s photo library shows an abandoned boat on a beach during sunset and a person approaching it.

Posted in flash fiction

Poker Face

We’re standing opposite one another.

Me and the boy.

Me, with insecurities spilling to the pavement and tears running my spirit dry, and the boy, with his faltering understanding and screaming eyes.

I draw my lips into the best line I can manage. I quell my tears, reserving them to the well settling in my stomach.

He turns away, arms crossed over his fading, shredding t-shirt.

This, I slowly realize, will not end like the story crafted in my mind. My narrative written on real life has gone horribly awry.

“I guess this is it then.” His voice trembles as my heart descends foggy valleys unknown.

Wait … But ingrained habit and childhood rules dictate; my poker face must remain. The last one standing wins. I’ll regret this …

Slowly, I reach a shaking hand for his.

“Just go.”

We collect our shattered pieces in silence, me and my poker face opposite the boy I love.

I plaster my poker face, like a second skin, and tell myself it’s ok over and over again.

The boy tucks himself gently into the darkest corners of his mind where he confides in demons he hides.

The last one standing wins. My poker face has become my sin.

 

Posted in stream of consciousness

Material Sounds

Prompt – Song

Music – If These Trees Could Talk – Above the Earth, Below the Sky


In my dreams you’re always singing the song

The music is always right there,

In my bedroom, in my bed, lying next to me it seems

And your voice lays over it, so serene.

Sometimes you don’t sing,

It’s only music then

And we float away to another land.

We can dance the night away,

From the kitchen to the clouds.

We exist above material sounds.

In those moments

I can feel it in my soul,

The music makes me complete

In your arms and your eyes

I get lost every time.

The music tells me it’s ok,

Your song tells me you’re ok,

Whether we’re together in these dreams

Forever or never.

Sometimes I wish I knew the song was for me.

Sweet as it may be,

These aren’t reality after all.

And my mind starts working,

Over thinking,

The way it does,

And we fall.

Just like our song.

Falling, falling.

What will happen when we hit the ground?

Posted in stream of consciousness

Bitter Pills

Yet another Sunday, it’s the end of March. What the hell?

Prompt- Swallow

Music: Wooden Shjips – Back To Land

Swallow your pride, it’s a bitter pill but it’s better this way.
Say the things you know will sting, slaps against the grain.
Anything to make you walk away.
Swallow arsenic words, poisonous to all around us.
Implode.
Anything to protect you from the mess I’ve become.
He was right you know,
Selfishness choked me on the way down
And I never deserved you.
Spin me into sweet melodies,
They slide down easier than reality.
Anything to hide the truth of what we’ve done.
Once I tried to take a handful of bitter pills
To forget your name, forget your face,
Forget the way I had you stamped in that place.
I fell down, busted my brain instead.
Now my thoughts leak and blend fact with fiction,
I can’t tell anymore what was real and what was just part of the mission.
All because we tried to swallow little bitter pills,
Is it better this way?
I hear they have a pill to answer
To straighten out our brains.
I don’t know, what do you think?
Maybe seeing stars isn’t a bad thing
If the answer is swallowing our pride
And staying side by side.


Go check out The Perfectly Imperfect Bunch

Posted in stream of consciousness

Here We Are

Stream of thought writing, I guess this is going to be a weekly thing now –

Prompt – Inkling

Music – Steve Reich – Works 1965-1995

Inkling.

It starts with a drop, a spot of ink infecting, spreading in the water.

It was all so clear

Until

You loosed the ink composed of your fear.

Now it’s here, spreading, floating, clouding

A situation we thought was through.

Tied up and tossed aside

Like a neatly composed pile of trash.

But here we are

Lost in each others eyes.

At least I am.

I have a feeling

You are too but we can’t, can we?

Inklings aren’t enough

They don’t spread through the veins,

Becoming all we are.

Do they?

Be still, they say, let it be.

Let it disperse, the way ink should

Eventually the floods will carry it away.

Except I’ve been waiting

And it’s still here

Floating and spreading

Infecting all we’re becoming.

But of course

They say

There was never another way.

The inkling was always there

Just hidden away by fear.

You’re not scared

And I’m no longer afraid …

So what is this inkling that remains?

Time inches by

Sand through the hole we’ll never hold again.

Spread by the wind like the ink in water.

How many seconds has it been?

How long until this dam breaks

And our infested waters overflow

Carrying away everything we know,

Our fears?

Our belief?

Time’s up.


Check out The Perfectly Imperfect Bunch

Posted in stream of consciousness

Smudged Charcoal Memories

Stream of Consciousness Writing Attempt – Wordpress Daily Prompt – Candid

Music: Alberto Giurioli – once again I’ve found myself just shuffling on Spotify, no specific  songs or albums

Candid.

I have photos in my mind, candid pictures, frozen in time.

Of you, me, the world as it wishes it could be … the way it is and the way it could.

Like rough charcoal sketches, outlining your jaw

Tracing your lips and infecting everything we’ve become.

Conversations are easy, expressions in stars and beauty …

Total comfort we take for granted.

And yet here we are, with candid pictures but nothing solid.

Smudged charcoal memories

Scenes were there, we know, but we’re always just missing the point.

Always just grasping the cusp of the greater things

Only to find ….

We were never meant for the better side

So we cling to something more, hoping, praying, waiting …

We hide beneath silence and sideways glances

While we dangle from the precipice

Fuzzy charcoal portraits and blurry night walking pictures

With broken smiles and tear stained eyes

Are all we left behind but not all that’s left to find?

How long can you hold on? Hold out?

Close your eyes

10 minutes up.

 

Posted in stream of consciousness

Numbered Days 4/365

My heart could be filled

But truth be told …

My days are numbered here.

This disease is terminal.

The doctors don’t know what to do.

“Well,” he says as he raps spindly hands

“You can’t stay forever in the land of the damned.”

Indeed Father Time.

It appears I’ve been diagnosed with life.

I can’t stop my feet from wandering

Or my mind from pandering

The sweet effects of a sunset over the sea.

I suddenly, it seems, have things

I need to be

Rather than this old burnt out bag of flesh

And crumbling calcium deposits collected for me.

So tell me dear, tell me love

You know our days are numbered here …