Rock Time- Quieting the Mind

Temps of 105 degrees couldn’t keep me and my un-pedicured toes away.

Eons ago, during a particularly stressful period of my life, an old friend quipped that I needed to head out for “rock time.”  In his estimation, I needed to find a big ole rock to perch upon as I pondered my way out of my predicament. (Like how to avoid unintended alliteration?) He was right. And, today, I embrace the practice.

Writing is a prickly endeavor. Despite all good intentions, sometimes I stare at the screen or page, determined to will the words into the right order, only to find that there’s too much noise in my head. You know what I mean. Kids, guilt, laundry, bills, buried hurts, to-do-lists, wishes, worries, inner-editors, self-doubt, isolation. The list goes on. A bombardment of such mental din can be deafening. For me, that’s when I know it’s time to head outdoors.

I walk, bike, kayak, or head to the many trail options in my area, knowing I’ll get sweaty, and dirty, and just plain tuckered out. Sometimes, I even go home to the ranch where I grew up. Surrounded by horses and space, my blood pressure drops and the volume of internal noise is extinguished. Away from my daily routine, my senses awaken. I can breathe, hear my heart beat, and soak in the natural wonders that fuel me. Miraculously, by the time I return to the page, that mental chatter has been compartmentalized and my focus returns.

Whether you feel stuck or distracted, I encourage you to give it a try.

Take a walk
and when you come to a sandy beach or a grassy knoll
take your shoes off and
feel your toes wince at the ticklishness
or crunchiness or prickliness of the earth.
Dip into the nearest water and
feel the coolness rise through your spine.
Watch the small efficiency of the bee, or butterfly,
or hummingbird hovering over a bloom that
holds promise and hope.
Hear the breeze bristle through the trees and the distant squee of birds in flight.
Introduce yourself to the movement
of the world around you.
Truly feel, so that when you return to the page,
your words will be felt.

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