My brain rarely stops, I woke at 4.30am this morning, the rusted wheels of inspiration shifted from sleep to creative thought in a blink of one crusty eye. Ideas on my picture book, material for my blog, I could not get back to sleep. Sometimes I get a kick out of those ridiculously early morning writing sessions, it’s when I do my best work. Yet often, I need to not to think at all.
This week my boy asked a very valid question, a question only a child would ask.
“How do you think of nothing?”
It’s hard to explain, but for children I guess you could say, it’s about finding that peaceful place in your mind.”
“How do you do that? Asked my daughter.
“Well, I read a book once which recommended you imagine a peaceful place you have been to, for me, my quiet place was when I went to Queenstown in New Zealand. I was sitting on a wharf, by a lake, it was so still it mirrored the sky above. I imagine this place when I need to give my brain a recharge.”
“Mine would be the beach or sitting on the rocks at the beach.”
“Mine would be sitting with the dog.” I laughed knowing children have different ideas on meditation and the true meaning would come, with time.
Meditation in-depth, is something I never mastered, I suppose the closest I came, was when I practiced Tai Chi. The pure energy and lightness I felt through those gentle movements only worked when my mind stopped altogether, it is hard at first to break the constant manic thought patterns of an overactive brain. A quiet mind work out is a chance to regroup after a chaotic day. I believe resting my inner thoughts and finding that peaceful place is paramount to writing well and feeling rejuvenated.
Yesterday I found a new place to meditate on. After a rainy day and kids climbing the walls with sheer boredom, we decided for Nan’s birthday to go to the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens. We had been there many times before and enjoyed, the varied choice of bush tracks, a café which served fresh delicious produce and most importantly chocolate milkshakes for the kids.
What I did not expect to find was a feeling of full body relaxation that release of breath, a sigh of appreciation only a tired parent can give. My son ran ahead, over the rain-soaked, wooden bridge. The rushing water and strong smell of eucalyptus wasted on a hyperactive body that just needed a run. My daughter on the other hand noticed the wonderful things that nature had to offer. I watched her walk ahead with her grandmother, pointing and whispering, trying to alert me of a photo opportunity with a group of kangaroos. Tall spotted gums, reached for the sun, the dappled light played with her long hair as she scolded her brother for scaring the wildlife.
“What a beautiful peaceful place,” Said my mum as we sat listening to the persistent croaks from the creek and enjoyed the water birds ritual of harvesting bugs for breakfast.
“Truly invigorating.” I said.
“What are you doing?” Asked the boy.
“Soaking in the serenity.” I replied, he frowned as if to say what for? Before racing off down the children’s bush circuit track, with his sister in tow, telling him to slow down and wait for his Nan. I sat and waited, listening to their excited voices traveling through the canopy and realised it was my first opportunity to capture the beauty of stillness. I hope you enjoy my interpretation.