Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Mind

We all dwell inside of our own minds, in a private world that no one can understand or access unless we choose to let people in through our words and emotions. Often I look at people and wonder what is going on in their minds. When my kids are talking to me, and I am nodding and "mmm-hmm-ing", I'm becoming aware of how deeply embedded I am in my own mind at those times.

I have to be careful not to disengage too much from the moments I find myself in, but since I've begun regularly writing again, I escape as often as I can into the recesses of my own mind and creativity. Yesterday was my dad's birthday, and I didn't give it a single thought until I dropped Ava off at school and passed a man in a car who resembled my dad, and it popped into my head that he would have been 66 years old if he hadn't died in 2002. I like being open to those kinds of thoughts, and not being afraid of any emotion that might come attached to these recollections.

Our minds are curious things. They give us information all of the time, random and fleeting thoughts that accumulate into a whole to direct our ideas onto a recognizable path. If we pause to listen to our thoughts and marshal them into some semblance of order, we find that there is a pattern working all of the time. Our subconscious informs our mind, and there is a sense of scattered order to all of it.

I'm learning to accept the chaos of my own experience, and embrace what it is trying to teach me. Things happen to us for a reason, and if we are willing to accept what is going on around us, and in us, there is usually a point to it. I wish I spent more time noticing the little things in my younger years. I was so busy rushing around that I didn't stop to process how I felt and learn the lessons that life was trying to teach me. One of the best benefits of aging is slowing down and being more in touch with my experiences and emotions.

We aren't privy to the inner workings of another person's process, and if they won't share with us, we are left to guess and assume when dialogue and actions don't match up. This process usually leads to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Clear communication can fix some of these problems, but people don't always communicate clearly because of fear or pressure or a million other reasons that often remain a mystery.

I love the idea that we all have a private sanctuary inside of our own minds, a place we can retreat to in safety that no one else can infiltrate, but occasionally I dream of a world where we are honest with ourselves, and by extension, with others. I love the redemption that comes when you can be really transparent with another person, be it your spouse, your family members or your friends. That is the best freedom I have found in any relationship thus far: the right to be myself, without censoring my thoughts or emotions, and be accepted and loved as I am, not as I would like to be or am expected to be.

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