I’ve always enjoyed spending my weekend mornings by myself. I have a very busy life, by choice, constantly filling my time with projects and activities. In more recent years, this has made it more difficult to spend time reflecting every day. There have been times in the past year where being busy has been a specific choice to avoid too much reflection. Spending too much time in my head can be a bad thing, just as not spending enough time can be a bad thing. It’s a fine balance to strike.
However, when there’s nothing going on and I’ve got no obligations I need to see to, I like to take my mornings on Saturday or Sunday to just stay in bed, revel in the comfort of my dark room, and reflect. I’m usually awake enough to not fall asleep while meditating and, since I’m in my bed on a free morning, it isn’t a big deal if I do. I like to pick over what has happened during the week and what might happen over the next week. This is my time to plan events, figure out if I should be calling on friends, and to decide how I’m feeling on anything I was too busy or emotionally distraught to handle as it happened.
This last thing, unpacking the boxes I’ve filled and tucked away for later, is my main occupation during these morning reflections. If I was stressed and upset by something a friend said the other day, I’ll unpack it and review it. Did they intend to upset me? Was I upset about something else and it colored my reaction to their comment? Should I say something to them or let it go? Heck, with how stressful the world is these days for anyone not supporting the current US Republican congress, maybe I’ve packed away something that happened because there’s so much going on that I can’t process it all at once. Maybe I’ve packed away the latest horrible thing that’s happened in the world. Maybe I’ve packed away a bunch of insecurities and invasive thoughts stemming from my OCD taking advantage of the normal stresses of a relatively new relationship.
Packing things away is my main coping mechanism and I need to take time to unpack them every so often or else they build up to the point where the shelf collapses and all the boxes unpack themselves, all at once. Panic attacks and mental breakdowns aren’t super fun, FYI.
If unpacking is about 50% of the time I spend reflecting, then planning is 10%, reviewing my week is 10%, and reviewing my social needs and activities is 10%, the last 20% goes toward simple mental wandering. If the brain is like a muscle and Sudoku or reading are mental workouts, then a good mental wander is like going hiking. Sure, you get some exercise, but the main reason is to go see something or explore. I like to take interesting ideas and explore them. This can be reflections on aspects of ethics or morals, it can be a philosophical concept, or it can be a story idea. I’ve mentioned that writing can be a lot like climbing a mountain (check the Helpful Tips section of this blog post), so this sort of mental wandering is a lot like looking for the right kind of mountains. There’s a lot of metaphor to unpack here, but I think I’ll save that for another post since I could easily write a whole post or two on my creative process.
Most of the time, all of this takes place over the course of a couple of hours. Sometimes, I wake up around 9 or 10 and then finally drag myself out of bed around 11 or 12. Most days, like today, I get up at 7:30 and lie in bed until 11. I’m no longer very good at sleeping in since I’ve officially been getting up at 6 more often than not for 13 years, but that’s alright. I like my quiet mornings and the chance to get a lot of thinking done. Today, I actually planned my blog update schedule, all while snuggled cozily under my blankets in a dimly lit room full of the quiet sounds of a peaceful neighborhood. It doesn’t get much better than that.