Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clean Slate, Blank Brain

Clean slate, blank brain.

It is amazing how quickly your brain can fill up with thoughts upon waking, no matter how hard you try to keep it un-tainted. Focusing on nothingness when there are so many opportunities in the opposite direction is amazingly difficult. Food, bathroom, to do list, when do I need to be to work, did I call that person back? Tainting.

But here is the bigger question - do creative impulses come out of that stream of unavoidable thoughts, or out of managing to avoid them? I am sure there is no constant, but for each person, there must be a tendency. I can only assume that, since I am not manufacturing amazing creative thoughts every two seconds, most of my tendency must lean toward when I manage to avoid that stream, or maybe when I swim upstream?

I think that is the purpose of why, a couple of weekends ago, I decided to try and plan nothing - tried to avoid that stream of thoughts, and instead let time develop as it would. This idea seemed romantic and fantastic, and I couldn't wait to let it unfold.

Turns out, it was nothing near what I was making it out to be. Another impotece for this little experiement was also the thought that shaking up personal patterns can be good for you. In theory and sometimes in practice, this is true. However, what resulted from my no-plans weekend was me feeling like a boring, time-wasting person avoiding what I really wanted to be doing - moving toward completion of plans.

Another thing that called me to try this was the realization (which I did arrive to long ago, but seem to have sincere difficulty affecting) that I tend to let never-ending lists dictate me. I say this in a way that suggests that there is such thing as a list with an end point, which I believe to be entirely untrue, at least where highly motivated people are concerned. Therein lies the problem. Often, these lists dictate my time in a way that seems to run me in circles, rather than in a defined direction. I realize this.

However, after a couple weekends ago's experiement of trying to plan nothing, as if operating in a blank fashion equal to that of simply trying to run through a list at as fast a pace as possible, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, would help me in some way.

What really comes out of all this is the continued reenforcement of the fact that nothing is black and white (I suppose even the concept of 'black and white' itself has to be grey somewhere), everything is best in moderation. But not moderation for moderation's sake, moderation with thought behind it, careful enough that it is purposeful, but not so planned that interfers with a moment's ability to unfold into what it wishes to be.

So, new approach; two weekends from now, I am going on a road trip with Aaron and Sarah. At first, I hadn't even asked what we were going to do, in order to respect the ways in which randomness can carry us. Realizing that I was too curious to have no idea, I asked her the plan, which turned out to be holing up in a hotel room because no one has money and talking through with a friend some troubles. Glad I asked.

With information and perspective, I am going to choose to let randomness draw the cards part of the time, while planning draws the other part.

Any suggestions for fun, cheap things to do in Madison in March?


Адам said...

Inspirado is a fickle one, but in a good way. Often best to keep going about going about and let it give you a little trip to refine and reawaken your consciousness at some point, at its own whim.

Not all is black and white. Pretty sure there's some green and blue and others there too.

Aba-di-aba-dai.. aba-di-aba daii..

Адам said...

Oh. Yeah. Miss you, kid. Don't forget to stock your car with Cheezit-Skittle sandwiches. They're the best.

I may be mistaken. Let's pretend that was your idea and make up a little imaginary world where you eat those all the time.