Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mindless Strength

Over at WishStudio, Darlene Kreutzer wrote a recent post about the unity of the mundane and the "other" (spiritual, mystical, glittery world that is all we perceive not to be mundane). She is offering a give-away of these adorable garden books...hurry over to her post to enter.

Part of what she asked us to comment on was "how do we find beauty in the seemingly mundane?". My answer seemed to just discover itself, "Through Mindless Strength".

Though notably ironic, I have been thinking a lot recently about not thinking.

(You may have noticed that trend in recent posts.)

I was brought up to think. I was taught logic, that everything had a "right" answer that could eventually be discovered...and that success came through finding it. Much to my mother's dismay, my dad and I used to debate for hours...just because we could. Much to my husband's dismay, I can now logically debate almost any argument -- playing the devil's advocate for either side of the story.

This has provided me with some strengths I'm glad, at least for right now, have not weakened. I enjoy being able to see all sides of a story, to understand where anyone is coming from even if I don't agree. I thrive on being able to think through a problem. Yet, some of these very strengths have been my worst weaknesses.

Put simply,

I think too much.

(Background Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy, Image copyright LWilson)

Only the past few weeks have brought a fervent effort to change this, but every day before that occurred like this:

I wanted to workout. I would think about getting out of bed to start my workout, then think about the actual process, then think about the other things I could do and how good it would feel to do them, then think that working out could wait a day...and I would never workout.

I wanted to create
. I would think about all of the things I could buy, I would think about the websites I was visiting and the books I was reading, I would think about what colors might go together, I would think about how I could cut a particular shape out of a photo and after all of this thinking I'd either run out of time and I needed to start dinner or I was simply too tired. I'd never create.

I wanted to organize the house. I would sit in a room for hours and think about how it could be arranged, I would think about the lists I had in front of me of the steps I could take to categorize the items, I would think about the HGTV shows and the advice they offered, and I would organize all of my thoughts. But I never organized the house.

I could go on. But honestly, I'm tired of thinking about it.

The process of running, art journaling, yoga, creating, and of taking one small step with my right foot without thinking where the left foot might land has freed some part of me that was bound by link after link of mental chain.

  • I realize that if I simply move my legs in a running motion and stop thinking about why, I run.

  • I realize that if I don't make a list about organizing the house and instead spend that time organizing the house, I will have at least a partially organized home.

  • I realize that if I just create instead of worrying about how or why or for whom I'm creating, I will have created art.

And then I forget.

Such is the process.

There are little reminders that I think my soul built in to trip up my mind if it ever starts to completely take control again. For example, there is a quote, "Sometimes it's better to be kind than to be right" that chimes up quite frequently. There are the countless words I've read in delicious books that run through my head like those by Karen Maezen Miller - simple words that blanket a thick wisdom. There are hidden traps everywhere to nip at my mind's nimble feet, secret weapons I keep to allow my spirit the chance to survive.

There are the external reminders that I think the ever-present energy, in her infinite wisdom, keeps serving to me, like a flick in the head. A perfect example?

The other day I was angrily cleaning off a stained white towel - the kind we use for fluffy bath towels that I adore just being plain white like the new fallen snow - the kids had used to wipe up paint. (Not one of my prouder moments). My almost 3-year old daughter sauntered up, leaned down to me, and said, "Mommy, I'm going to give you a smile." And she did. A big one. My heart and my lips couldn't help but smile back.

I have the Strength within me to be kind, to be joyful, to not be snippy, and to take that next running step when my legs feel like jello. I train with my mind to find that strength. It is an invaluable tool, one that I am terrified of ever losing.

Yet it is only when I release the incessant grip of that mind - when I find my Mindless Strength - that I am truly strong.

Think about it.

Or don't.


  1. as always, i love this post. and SUCH a cutie!! :) hugs sweetie!!

  2. What a great post - I can so relate to everything you've written here. I always "plan" out things instead of just "doing" things. Perhaps I wouldn't accumulate so many objects in my house that I "intend" to use someday. LOL Today I decided to just DO something, and I'm quite happy that I did. I'm a happier person at this hour. Much food for thought here - and I thank you!

  3. you sound so like me! I can so over think things, but I have trained myself to DO instead cause I realized I was not getting any younger and time was not going slowly and I had not done so much due to my thinking. You describe it so well here!
    and wow, what a 3 year old! how sweet that she could cut through your mood and wipe it away. sigh. a lovely picture of innocence that has a better perspective than maturity!
    this was such a great read Lisa!


  4. Wonderful! Amazing! Supernatural! You, yes, you, grasp the ineffable: mindfulness means mindlessness. My work is done.

    Karen Maezen Miller

  5. I could go on. But honestly, I'm tired of thinking about it.

    Hmm...we've never met. How did you get inside my head? :)

  6. i love reading your mind unwinding here :)

    i am soo looking forward to Karen Maezen Miller's new book ... was engaged today in the much needed tasks of cleaning and allowing myself to just flow into the areas i was drawn to ... started with laundry, wandered off into my daughter's room, then hung 2 pictures that have sat on the floor for weeks, then cleaned out some drawers and so it goes. no one area "finished" but a sense of digging into the corners of my life.

    i hope spring has arrived in your corner of the world ... it is energizing me today and i am going with it!

    (and my neck aches from bobbing my head yes to everything here ... especially the part about creating art just to create, without an agenda except the process of pleasure ...)

  7. Wooooh. Woman. I'm exhausted. I thought that I THOUGHT too much. You may have me topped in the everyday analysis, but you at least recognize it. Are you sure you're not a Virgo? :) You are right--let go and let the beauty seep in. Your little girl is just precious!

    Many blessings, friend :)

  8. ADORABLE photo. peaceful strength to you & love to all your beauty!!

  9. I've been procrastinating on the dumbest things lately. It's so embarrassing that I won't even go into details.

    That little darling giving you a smile - that is just heartwarming. Thanks for sharing that smile with us. :o)

  10. Oooh, you are writing about my EVERY day!!! I stumbled into your blog through Trudy and the Artistic Mother group. This was so comforting to read... thanks for sharing! And keep pushing; we are all going to get where we want to be with those baby steps...