It's Monday morning, I know. Just for fun, though, I'd like invite you to practice your flexibility-of-mind muscles and try something new for the next few hours: let yourself burble with joy.
"Burble with Joy? What the Heck Are You Talking About?"
Random House defines a "burble" as:
- "a bubbling or gentle flow," or
- "an excited flow of speech."
I prefer to combine these two ideas, and define "burble" this way:
"a bubbling, gentle flow of thoughts, speech and actions."
Read that again. "A bubbling, gentle flow of thoughts, words and actions." Wouldn't it be nice to flow gently through your day today?
"I Still Don't Get It."
Take a moment to unpack my definition.
- Synonyms include creative, active, generative.
- As in: unforced, unimpeded.
- For purposes of this discussion, let's define "flow" as a forward motion ignited by one's calm, focused, creative mindset and actions.
"Flow" is a casual relationship (If "focused + calm + creative" then "flow"). It's a dynamic movement of energy not controlled by or originating from our will or our analytical, "thinking" mind.
4 Simple Practices
Ready to give "burbling with joy" (or, simply, inviting the flow state) a try? Use today as your canvas and let's get started. Here's how:
1. Focus on the tasks at-hand: do what you need to get done today.
Shift your focus from the future to this moment...right now. Allow yourself to be fully present with the tasks and demands of your day. Focus is an important habit for writers.
2. Relax your mind and body periodically throughout the day.
In the busiest of days, you always have options for self-relaxation. You can workout (take the stairs, walk around the block or hit the gym), free write, call a friend, choose good-for-you food, or take a moment to stretch or breathe. Choose one or two to practice today.
3. Simplify: Table your worries until tomorrow. (Trust me, they'll still be there for you.)
You can do your long-range planning (or big-scale worrying!) tomorrow. Just for this day, I'd like you to experience the creativity that comes from being "in the day" with just the tasks at hand. Tabling our worries is an act of faith. If this is difficult for you, here are two exercises to try:
>>Clear your desk (and your mind). Create a clean, uncluttered workspace for yourself today. As you move papers and projects aside, imagine you're also clearing worries from your mind.
>>Time your worries. If you feel you absolutely must worry today, try this exercise: set a timer and allow yourself 10 minutes to fully express your fears, worries and concerns. After the timer goes off, shift gears, knowing that sometimes the subconscious mind can come up with amazing solutions we could never deliberately create on our own. If you begin to get "worry withdrawal," remember that you can repeat this exercise tomorrow.
Here in Marin County, California, it's not uncommon to see people in cars passing by or stopped at a light just sitting there...smiling. (I'm not kidding! This shocked me at first, but after 8 years in California, I'm getting used to it.)
I'm not suggesting you act dopey or fake. Your community or workplace may not be ready for this kind of "radical smiling," I know. Still, you can take a moment to try smiling to yourself (privately, if you prefer)...several times today.
It's been said that simply by choosing to smile, we can alter our mood. If this is true (my experience says it is), don't overlook this free mood-alterer. Your smile's accessible to you at any time.
By calming your mind and shifting your focus from the bigger picture to the present moment, task or conversation, you cultivate ideal conditions for creativity and flow--both in your writing and your life.
Have fun playing with these simple exercises today. Let me know how things go, and get out there and "burble!"
(photo credit: Gaetan Lee)
p.s. - Thanks also to @toomarvelous for helping me to retitle this post.