I should probably leave my phone at home so I can be alone with my thoughts while I walk. My life and my business are very social; alone time is scarce. I’ve been counseled to disconnect more often.
But my best thoughts come to me on my walks and I must capture them. They say we are at our best in the spaces between intense thinking and frantic doing. I suppose the mystics would say we are at our best when we are “being.” I kind of suck at “being.”
So, I walk. The phone stays in my hand, and I am often the idiot tripping over cracks in the sidewalk, oblivious to the birds and trees. Eventually I do look up and breathe, I swear.
I use Instagram to express gratitude for the quiet moments, the flowers and the animals I find.
I text people crazy ideas and send invites to meet for breakfast or lunch (with apologies that I tend to work while the world eats dinner).
I turn little song ideas into voice memos.
I make important business decisions at my favorite pond while snapping pictures of my “pet” egret and turtles in the sun.
I call my husband to tell him I’m thinking of him.
I plan our next vacation.
Sometimes the phone rings and I answer; it’s like taking a walk with a friend (admittedly this means I will take a second walk after we hang up, so the mind can still wander).
I develop my blog posts (I sat down on a piece of driftwood and typed this one into my phone).
It’s free association at its finest; a combination of effortless free time and getting sh*t done.
I know it now: My busy brain needs this chance to run free like the wild horse it is.
Today I imagined sending my students outside when they have writer’s block, and then I wondered if I would have done better in Algebra if they let me walk while I tried to solve for “x.” What if my friends in corporate offices took to the sidewalks and parks to plan their next marketing campaigns?
What if we acknowledge the importance of the space between planned thinking and doing? What if we accept that we get so much more accomplished when our minds have room to roam?
I’ll see you outside – please stop me and wave, even if I appear to be lost in thought.