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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our fantasy lives.

(picture from a landscaping blog  I no longer remember. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

We live our days on two tracks, the work and clean track, and the dream and wish track. It's not as though they are opposite. They are intertwined, and the amount of focus we are consciously aware of in any one field depends on the moment.

I do most of my wishing and dreaming when I'm gardening or when I'm doing routine tasks, such as driving, cleaning house, doing laundry. In the garden, for instance,  I may start with weeding a small area and then, needing another tool, I stand up and go fetch that tool. Before I get there, something catches my eye, and I'm off to something else entirely. I'm still gardening, but I'm blending in with the entire universe as well.

The effect of this meandering on my soul is most salutary. All the bending, the pulling, the carrying and positioning, the raking, the digging, the pruning, the harvesting, all succeed in numbing my thoughts, stilling my fears, positioning me in the place and the moment of the task, body and soul.

And yet, I travel millions of miles with each little twitch. Every time I use the hoe I see my father bent over this implement for hours, tending the vineyard. Every time I gather fruit and vegetable Mother is right beside me, reminding me of something or other. Wait another day for this one is still a bit small. Take these in and make a big tart, the way we used to make it when Grandma visited. You are lucky with a big refrigerator and lots of freezing space, you could bake a few extras and taste these delights in the middle of winter.

As I work, I take great delight in how something is bending,  blooming, fighting to remain in its position. When I realize how tired I've become, I stop reluctantly.

We worry about children not staying on task. We demand their attention for hours and hours, and put all our emphasis on routine tasks, rather than creative pursuits. We test them on specific items, as though life is a big recipe we must memorize, rather than a big labyrinth to discover.

I wonder if we allow them enough time to meander and imagine, mix and match tasks, reminisce, create scenes and dialogue about their wishes, their fears, their consternation.

We must rethink the benefits of staying on task. Perhaps the explosion of ADD (attention deficit disorder) among our population is nature's way to correct all that tasking we have been submitted to.



28 comments:

ellen abbott said...

I like this post. so much truth here.

Rian said...

A lot of creative thinking comes while doing mundane tasks. I always thought that was the reason for the expression, "Physical labor is good for the soul".

ds said...

Excellent, elegant, and true. We don't give kids nearly enough time to meander, and it shows. More ideas pop into the head whilst gardening or doing laundry, or mopping floors--or simply walking--than when trying to force them.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Wonderful post, Rosaria, and so true! What we think and dream while doing routine tasks fires so much creativity and pleasure. With kids, I so wonder about those who are scheduled to the max without free time to just be and dream. And as we age, it's so delightful to be able to travel in time, with memories of loved ones long lost.

Helen said...

Your post is coming at the perfect time - school beginning once again in a few days. My almost 16-year old grandson has been struggling the past few years ... he tests well, is musically talented .. a great skier, hiker, explorer of all things Central Oregon. Structure is not his friend. Doing things a bit differently this school year, also using a tutor to get math up to speed. One online credit recovery class .. cutting back on a full class load. We'll see how things go.

joeh said...

Bingo!! WOnderful post. I was babysitting my grand toddlers today and marveling at how well they playd if I just stayed away and left them to their own devices.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Lots of food for thought in this post. Well written Diane

Brian Miller said...

i think all the time for meandering and imagining is gone...between the rigors of the SOL testing and teaching to it...and the techno barage in the evenings.....

Hilary said...

So very true. Too many kids don't have time to think and discover for themselves. They're scheduled for every free moment of their time. Excellent post.

Karen Lange said...

You make a great point. Thanks for the food for thought!

Have a great week! :)

becky said...

Your brain must be bursting from all of these thoughts. I so enjoy following along and comparing my own experiences with yours...sleep and routine tasks have always been fed my creativity, allowing me time and space for problem solving.

Maggie May said...

This is what I seem to do. I'm easily distracted and travel some miles in my thoughts and imagination.
Loved this post.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Tom Sightings said...

Nice, insightful post. I couldn't agree more that gardening is great for wishing and dreaming. But . . . oh man, it's a nightmare for the back!

Joani said...

Such a wonderful post. I love being outside playing in the dirt and can't wait for the heat to leave and the cool to arrive. We have had some nice rains and I just recently went north and the desert is so green. Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

Lydia said...

What a brilliant concept you have come up with regarding ADD and the demands of staying on task these days. It sure makes sense to me.

I loved this: As I work, I take great delight in how something is bending, blooming, fighting to remain in its position. When I realize how tired I've become, I stop reluctantly.

rosaria, when I came here via clicking on your comment at my blog it took me to your i-Google page, where I clicked to find the list that includes the link to get here (I really find the way Google has this set up to be extremely annoying!). Anyway....when I clicked on your blog it took me to a "this blog does not exist" page and told me that the name of the blog is open. The reason? You need to add a dot (.) after www in your url. As soon as I corrected that in my browser I got here immediately.

Vera said...

I wrestle with trying to stay on task, having a tendency to wander off like you do. I am not sure whether I should be in a tight routine, or let my day wander where at will. Nice to hear someone else voice this 'problem'. You did strike a chord in me with this blog, bless you.

TexWisGirl said...

you brought tears to my eyes this morning. stopped by from hilary's to say congrats on your POTW. the gardening, weeding, bending, letting your mind wander really brought my mother back to me.

blending in with the entire universe.

Jo said...

What a lovely post, and so true.

I don't know how people can hope to create the right life if it's not woven through with dreams and wishes.

yaya said...

Oh my gosh, you hit that nail on the head....the ADD nail that is! I've often said I must have the adult version because I'm very easily distracted when I'm doing a routine task like gardening or cleaning. I thought there was something wrong with me..thank goodness I'm not alone! I love the thinking and dreaming while I'm mowing...the plotting and planning when I'm washing floors. I always think we have very over scheduled kiddos these days and I'm glad mine were raised with time left over for themselves to pursue something called "fun"..and "creativity"...and rest. Thanks for a great post!

#1Nana said...

So true. One of the best things about retirement is the ability to ramble around. I putter with this and that and by the end of the week most things that really needed to get done are done. I don't know how I ever was able to follow a schedule.

the walking man said...

I dunno I just move linearly through the days, point here to there and when I am there I go to there again. It just never ends.

Phoenix said...

Fantastic post, Rosaria. I frequently combine daydreaming with a number of my activities, and I find that sometimes it just helps things go smoother or faster. Like my commute - it's an hour each way - I just put on good music, and as long as I still am good at paying attention to those driving around me, I let my mind wander on my route home. It's a nice, comfortable way to spend what a lot of people might find aggravating or depressing.

Kerry said...

I'm an excellent daydreamer, but a rather poor gardener, always easily defeated by marauding deer, shady trees, invasive weeds, reckless dogs, and too much clay in the soil. Bah.

But I love your meandering thoughts and am jealous of your garden!

Diana said...

Beautifully put, Rosario....as my daughter gets ready to enter the 3rd grade, I wonder weather she will get enough time to meander....and will work to find ways to nurture this after school....

erin said...

http://www.onbeing.org/

there is a program on on being about intelligence and education. i've yet to listen to it but i think that you would enjoy it and this website in general, linked to public radio. james and i have been talking about education lately and how it is structured inhumanely and ineffectively but it is structured to reflect the incorrect structuring of western society, the profit motif.

yesterday i heard an interview between a canadian journalist, jian ghomeshi, and a chinese artist who has been jailed for his subversive art. jian asked if Ai Weiwei believed that his art would change chinese society. Ai Weiwei replied no, it would not, but instead what needed to happen was a fundamental change in every aspect of society. rosaria, i believe this is true of education and north american society. we need absolute restructuring. i also believe we will not elect to restructure until we have to and we will not believe we will have to until we reach a cataclysmic mark, environmental, health, or god help us, economical, and not the mild economical chaos of the last few years, but instead total economical chaos which might not be as far off as we think. we are exhausting our society based on profit motive and we are draining the human spirit. if something does not change, i can not imagine what we will become.

xo
erin

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I like this post and admit to letting my mind wander hither and fro while I garden, walk outside for exercise, and other odd moments, like when I visit MIL in the SNF because she does not track a conversation, so I let my mind depart too. Daydreaming is a great technique that got me successfully through my bureaucratic governmental career especially during dreary meetings, of which there were many. Today I think everything is too structured for children, including their so called play time. I have worried for a long time that it is not a good thing for people to not follow imaginations, what we do not use we lose. We were blessed to have that without all the technology and structure of today.

chowchowgrl said...

You made a lot of people happy with this blog! You help us feel that our wandering minds and feelings are not only normal but are beneficial. Lovely line about "blending with the universe," that we belong and can make harmony by being natural.

Forced endless multitasking is neither normal nor beneficial, and forced focus is neither normal nor beneficial.

You are a breath of fresh air!

chowchowgrl said...

P.S. I reposted your blog on mine so some of my friends could read it, I hope you don't mind. You might end up with some new followers and friends! Here is my link where you can see it:

http://pikaiagrl.blogspot.com/