There was a period of time during which I went through a significant amount of inner turmoil and had all these thoughts about life and existence swirling through my mind for no apparent reason than to bury me under stress. It was miserable, I was lost, hopeless, and scared to think about anything that could carry me too far into the endless rabbit holes of worry.
And then I found Nature in the blank pages of a notebook.
I didn’t realize it at the time but when I began writing I found myself gravitating more and more towards topics of the outdoors. Sometimes I’d write on the memories I had and the way the rivers swept away my fears and it was just me getting out all the pent-up feelings I had inside of me trying to claw their way out.
We all go through things that challenge us, things that force us down, and sometimes it feels like there’s nowhere to go. I think part of that is the fact that we have nowhere else to put our energy and emotion and they end up building past the breaking point.
I write often of the need for outlets and a lot of times I wonder if people interpret that as physical outlets, like sports as a form of increasing feel good chemicals in the body. However, I wonder if most people have enough time or attention to find mental outlets. A way to get thoughts out of our heads that don’t need to be there.
They say that when we sleep, our brains actually get rid of memories we don’t need as if sleep is the action that cleans the space for us. There was one instance where I read that a man who had a 100% photographic memory ended up a veritable vegetable because he was overwhelmed by the things he had in his head. While extreme, to me it indicates that thoughts have a tangible form and take up space in the memory card that is our mind.
Beyond sleep, how do we control that? How do we clean the space of useless junk and apply the old phrase “simplify, simplify” to the space in our heads?
I think we need a space to place our thoughts. Whether for you that means writing, painting, photography, or videography, I firmly believe that art cleans out the mind in a constructive, non-destructive way. It presents both mindful relaxation and a focus. Do not try multi-tasking, that’s a myth. Just sit or walk or run and produce exactly what makes you feel as if the clutter is being removed.
Once we find a medium, the next step is to find a focus. My medium is a camera and notebook, my muse is mother nature. Wherever your mind is at, take care of it. Sometimes you’ll find treasures in the dark spaces that you didn’t even know were there.