As 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.