Sunday, May 6, 2012

Empty Mind

African Morning Web
It’s a week later and I’m another plane flying towards home.  This time my TV works and I’m happily watching Law & Order, it’s the perfect show for a mind that appears to have been wiped clean of any coherent thoughts.  My mind, in case you are wondering.   It’s an episode that I’ve seen and the contours of the story are starting to take shape as we round the turn to the side of the show that is owned by Jack McCoy.  If I were a lawyer, he is the lawyer I would want to be.  In the end, they’ll prove that the blond teenage daughter convinced the mentally unstable man to murder her mother.  Law and order – all neatly sewed together  in the space of hour.

It’s been a long week of meetings and corridor confabs.  I’ll be glad to be home and tomorrow I have a spa day planned.  Then, I think, it’s off to DC (I really should confirm that though) for another couple of days of meetings.  Seems unfathomable that I would be hitting the road again so soon but I fear that is what to be.

Back to that seemingly empty mind of mine.  Have you ever thought about how your mind works?   Not about what makes you you or me me but rather about how it all works together.  There are people who spend their lives thinking about and researching this topic.   And then there are those of us who every once in a while pause and wonder – how did I do that?
Follow the Markers

My mind is a bit of an attic with a seemingly endless capacity to acquire and retain information.  When I think of it, I often envision standing at the end of a long corridor lined with oak filing cabinets, curio cabinets, and book shelves – all standing ‘neath the unfinished eves of what must be a vintage Victorian.  The hallway is strung with bare light bulbs and here and there sun streams through the dormer windows – making the dust motes dance.  It’s the antithesis of the White Box I wrote about in my last post.  Everything is stuffed to the brim and seemingly in no order yet, it’s pretty much all there when I want to retrieve it.  These days it can take a bit longer to surface a fact but it is all still there, seemingly intact.

One thing I’ve always liked about my mind is the way it takes disparate ideas and reconstructs them into something new.  It’s a great asset when it comes to writing grant proposals!  The other thing I’ve always liked is that I seem to acquire and organize information like a detective might when working a complicated case.  I am  able to put small pieces of information together and develop a theory and more often than not, I am right.  Like yesterday, a colleague came walking up to me and after we chatted a bit, he said, I have a quick question.  Before he could get it out of his mouth, I said, “no we can’t turn the waterfall off.”  He looked surprised and said while that takes care of that and headed back the way he had come.  Back to the exceedingly loud room behind the waterfall.  Lucky guess or deductive reasoning?  A bit of both is my guess. 
Little Sahara

One thing I dislike is that this prodigious memory of mine doesn’t only just catalogue the good memories – vacations, childhood, things I need to know, how to get someplace.  It also catalogues the bad ones – past injuries and injustices.  Sometimes it can be hard to put those aside and I definitely need to work on doing that. My mind also seems to store flotsam and jetsam that is seemingly not the stuff that one would need to retain but it’s there and I often imagine how much more depth on a particular subject I could have if I was just free of this clutter.

Periodically, the flotsam and jetsam will float to the top of my consciousness, causing me to pause and wonder now why did I think of that now?  It’s never anything huge – maybe a memory of a kiss or of the first time I flew in a plane or signing a lease for that first apartment.  $165 a month was my share of that rent – how times have changed since those early days!  I like when that happens – it’s like taking an unanticipated mini-break from whatever might be currently occupying me. 
Tasmanian Wreck

So, I don’t know if this writing has been all that coherent – but I did empty my mind of something that has been rattling around in my subconscious for a couple of weeks now.  And, as an added benefit, I used up some hours on the long flight home.  This piece easily too me twice as long to write given how empty my mind is.  Now, I’m off to choose from among the many forms of cotton candy for the brain that are on my iPad.  

Homeward bound and it feels good.

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