Magical Thinking I typed magical thinking into the subject line of my journal this morning I recalled Joan Didion’s, Year of Magical Thinking.  I smiled. My thought process is not as lofty as hers is. Rather, mine is like herding tumbleweeds. They prefer roaming the deserted boarder towns you might find in a Louie Lamour novel. They cluster and drift with the west wind, and have no destination or direction, but somehow unite when I call them to come back home.

It’s not something I tend to dwell on, especially at this time of year. February, for me, is a month of hibernation. I hunker down inside of myself, poke and prod, document and discover. There have been years when I used the time wisely and others when I have not. There were times, I wrestled with a life issue, real or imagined. Sometimes I’ve been between projects and spent the month searching. This month felt different.

I was between projects, but one found me before I had to go looking. There are no life issues, real or otherwise, weighing me down. I am in limbo professionally, which isn’t bothering me as much as it should. I continue to ride the agent query coaster, but at least I’m holding on. Truth is, I’m in a better than average place, both emotionally and physically. Then why, I asked the night sky, do I feel clogged? (This is not be confused with writer’s block, which was not the case.)

The night star winked at me but no answer came floating down from the heavens. I felt fine expect for the bulky congestion in my head. Day Quill was not an option. I had to clear the neural roadways within, and with no obvious answer in reach, I turned inward, as only a writer does.

I rolled my shoulders counter-clock wise, and stretched all of my muscles, even the ones that prefer idleness. I gave my body a good work out, but there was one area left, my brain. I gave her a swift kick. I felt the old girl release a sputter, like a heater that’s been dormant spring through fall.  First, there was a moan, followed by a clank and a clutter. I stood still while she fired up the engines until a thundering rush of unharnessed thoughts besieged me.

I closed my eyes and gave way to the life force in all of us, our breath. I inhaled to the count of ten, and released at the same pace. In seconds, an invisible barrier went up between my inner world and the words.  The previously pent-up thoughts banged viciously on my shield. Each one wanted attention and to be recognized for their singular brilliance.

Breathe, just breathe, I told myself. If a thought broke through my mental armor, I acknowledged it but did not stop to ponder its potential. I kicked it to the curb.  For ten minutes, I was still. As the last exhale slipped gracefully into the morning mist, the barrier came down. The newly reformed thoughts waited in an orderly line. In a short span of time, I quite literally rearranged (and cleared) the clutter, and removed the pressure.

I suppose this is what meditation is and what it can do for the enlightened mind. For a writer in hibernation, it’s Aladdin’s magic carpet.  The ten minutes of solitude reminded me the month of February is a magic in-between time when anything can happen. Romance is in the air, winter is making one last stand, and a person is either holding on to or looking forward. The days are growing longer, lighting the way to possibilities, and hold out hope of new life. In my case, it’s a time for magical thinking.

What do you do when you’re clogged or besieged with random, disconnect thoughts?

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

32 thoughts on “Magical Thinking

  1. Brenda, First of all this is beautifully written with metaphors that make the whole thing dance in my head. I use meditation and breath as well, with a variety of success. I just have to stop for a moment-from moving full steam ahead- and look around me and take residence in this old body and smile and my life no matter what it looks like at the moment. I also organize my physical space. This helps!

    • Jodi, be still my beating heart. What a wonderfully kind comment. Thank you. I knew you practiced meditation, clearly I am on training wheels and learning as I go along.

  2. Hmm, this happened to me at 5am this morning. I took a few deep breaths and let my mind wander for a few minutes before convincing myself to go back to sleep. Today, I’ll write down the thoughts I need to address and hopefully let the others go.
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Meet Lisa BassoMy Profile

  3. I’d walk away from my clutter, sit on the cool marble floor and breathe. Received a white crystal piece from a blogger friend recently, and I’d hold it in my left hand when I need to calm down, or focus on a story bit, or just hear my thoughts clearer. Breathing is something we often neglect. I’m still trying to meditate successfully. Will keep trying.

    I’ve heard of Joan Didion, just haven’t got to reading her books. I’ll check ‘Year of Magical Thinking’ out. Thanks, B.!
    Claudine G. recently posted….Let’s Spread Some BrightnessMy Profile

    • C – I was never into the breathing practice, but after trying it a couple of times and felt the benefit, I love it. I am still working on working the practice into my daily life and not only when I need it. Harder than it seems. Magical Thinking isn’t her best book, but it’s a pleasure (for me) to read her works.

  4. Good Morning, Brenda! ~

    I’ve been working my way through The Artists Way for the first time in many years. Your morning meditation reminded me of my ‘morning pages’ practice. I haven’t experienced anything I’d refer to as a ‘breakthrough’ at this point, but I’m producing good work and watching…watching…xoxoxoxox

    • Linda darling…I have not read it either. I am however, reading The Right to Write, different, but equally powerful. Funny you mention the morning pages. About a week ago, I decided it was time to do that. Hard at first to write just to write, but it’s been cathartic. Who knew.

  5. Beautifully written. I like the last paragraph especially. To help me through the doldrums, I read things I find inspirational, I meditate, I pray, I count my blessings. I breathe in and breathe out and feel the universe flowing through me–yes, I know that IS magical thinking for some, but for me it’s a way to connect with that which created us, with that in which I am embedded. When I need a break from myself, I go there.
    Deborah J. Brasket recently posted….A Walk to the RiverMy Profile

    • Deborah – Thank you kindly, appreciated. I like your description, breathing in, breathing out, reconnecting with the natural forces. It’s grounding and uplifting at the same time. Your comment is inspirational.

  6. Oh, how I can identify with those jumbled days so full with clutter and demands, Brenda! February hovers over me as it does for you – that time of Lent, the in-between of winter and spring, when daffodils brave their foolish heads, ashes of repentance and humility are placed, and I, being in the world, look forward to Valentine’s Day and my March 1 birthday.
    But, when I, like you, take time to breathe, to let God in and let me out, I have peace . . .
    Thank you for your inspiration, for your honesty, for your heart! It is beautiful!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….Ashes to Ashes, Dust to DustMy Profile

    • Martha, jumbled is a perfect description of the mind these days. There isn’t anything quite as wonderful than the peacefully easy feeling we find inside of our hearts when we block out all the nose. Hope you have a moment or three of peace.

  7. What an inspiring post, Brenda. I love February because it is the month of the heart. Plus, my daughter was born this month and she is my heart. And, like you, I have noticed the days getting longer which is enough for anyone to feel hope spring eternal!
    monicastangledweb recently posted….Boomer AnthemMy Profile

    • Aw, thanks, Monica. I was born this month as well, next week is the annual celebration. It is a month of heart, changes, and possibilities. YES – the days are getting longer. So glad.

    • Much appreciated, Bev. It does feel that way sometimes, the drifting of untethered thoughts. I thought it was the exact image of the mind in overdrive.

  8. Dear Brenda, Oh, how I loved this. I’ve been saving to read and now I know why. I’m home sick today, finally. I’ve felt increasingly worse all week, but there was nothing to do but get things done, teach, and make it through last night’s class. Today I am home in my jammies working in online classes and reading this was just perfect. I vividly remember Didion’s, “Year of Magical Thinking,” and love your reminder to us all that February is a time of magic. Love this, ” gave my body a good work out, but there was one area left, my brain. I gave her a swift kick. I felt the old girl release a sputter, like a heater that’s been dormant spring through fall. First, there was a moan, followed by a clank and a clutter. I stood still while she fired up the engines until a thundering rush of unharnessed thoughts besieged me.” Beautiful writing. xox

    • Dawn, I am sorry to hear that your heart is aching. It is a month of possibilities. Who knows, you might be taking a trip soon. And thank you kindly for your words. From one writer to another, you know how much that means.

  9. Hi Brenda,

    When my mind is clogged, movement of any kind usually helps. Whether the movement comes from making a bed, ironing a shirt, or taking a stroll on the treadmill, the result for me is the same — a clearer head.

    I don’t seem to derive the benefits from deep breathing that I’ve often heard recommended. Sometimes, it leaves me feeling a bit dizzy. Maybe that’s due to not doing it often enough. I get better results from the heavy breathing that comes from exertion.
    Ray Colon recently posted….In My Mirror I See…My Profile

    • Ray – I am with you when it comes to movement. Reading and listening to music helps me, too. Breathing – other than the everyday kind, is new to me. It’s powerful. Who knew. Try it.

    • Kate – I am glad you stopped by but happier you connected to the words on the page. I know where your head is as mine is there as well. We’ll get through it, that’s what we do. And yes, in Feb we hunker down.

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