Mindlessness versus Mindfulness

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On my windowsill! Did you know that spring is only 37 days away?

Last week my acupuncturist, Jill, prescribed an interesting regimen for me. I’ve been seeing her for just about 20 years and she knows me well. I first went to her when I was suffering from hot flashes and other nasty things associated with menopause. I found that being stuck with needles to be extremely helpful. Bill, my husband, even noticed the difference.

Since then I’ve been seeing her every six weeks or so for maintenance and I can always tell the difference in how I feel walking into her office and then walking out. But when we began moving in earnest, I cancelled my October appointment and haven’t been back to see her until last week. Again the magic of the needles made a difference in how I was feeling and we set another date for two weeks from now. Until I’m sailing smoothly through my days once again, I’ll be seeing her every other week.

As most of you who have moved about a lot know, selling an old residence and buying a new one, along with the purging and packing, is not for the faint of heart. And though we’re doing well with our settling in, there is still stuff I need to do, like going through all my old files and redoing the whole system to make it simpler and easier. I will be hiring an expert organizer to help me get it moving but all of this is a slow process and it can be very frustrating especially when I can’t find what I want in the file cabinets. Or when I’m anxious to start a new project but am afraid to add complications to an already overloaded plate.

I’ve struggled with that since we moved in November and now it seems I can’t wait any longer to jump head-first into something new. Jill, noticing my exhaustion and my struggle with increasing pain in my shoulders, neck, and wrist, sometimes knows better than I do what I need. She suggested that I take time to rest and recover from pulling up stakes before I charge back into action. Others have been telling me the same thing, saying that they breathlessly watched me organize, and get the move under way in such a short period of time.

Do I listen? Some accuse me of selective hearing.

It wasn’t until the past week or two that I’ve noticed just how tired I am. But there are all those wonderful, creative ideas that are beginning to stream through my head. Though I’ve promised myself to take one-step-at-a-time, there is no stopping a passionate, overwhelmed artist who’s been seperated from her muse for far too long. So I stumble about not knowing where to begin. Do I get the files organized first and get the bills paid on time or take some time to rest before I just plow ahead into my next creative exploration?

Jill’s words are often as magical as the needles she sticks me with. She suggested that having a mind full of “want tos and have tos” is not serving me well at the moment.  She said, “You need to to take naps and stop thinking so hard. Throw mindfulness out the window for a while and be a bit mindless. Rest. Take time to just be.”

As I sit here writing this blog post, I realize what good advice that is. In all my doing, I’ve forgotten how to simply be in the world. I don’t need to be take part in the rat race. Hopefully I won’t be so tired tomorrow and my racing mind will slow its pace and relax.

Have you ever thought of allowing yourself to be mindless?


  1. Oh yes. In the dentists chair is my favorite example of where I intentionally do not want necessarily to BE in the moment. I take myself off to some idyllic beach and fare much better. Here’s to your idyllic beach, Joan.

  2. Joan Rough says:

    Thanks, Janet. Yes, the beach is perfect, though today I don’t need it. It’s sunny and will be in the 60’s this afternoon. I’m going to sit out on my veranda and read!

  3. Joan — BRAVO for deciding to hire someone to help you. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation, I’m coming back as a professional organizer!

  4. Joan, I watch my daughter going in a gazillion directions with her young family and wish she would slow down. But then I recall, Iwas her role model! My health issues have forced me to slow down and though I resisted at first, I’m now realizing what a gift it is. I’m intrigued about hiring a professional organizer. Sounds like your in a good place. Enjoy!

    • Yep, I was like that too in my earlier days, Kathy. Unfortunately it takes aging to bring us to our senses. But it’s a hard habit to break. I find myself getting too excited by new ideas and always have to remind myself that it always works better when I slow down and take my time.

  5. Probably the best way for you to be artistic now is to enjoy the flowers surrounding you. And remember to breathe. Oxygen is fuel/energy, you know. Of course, I need to practice my own preaching, being very task-oriented like you.

    About the magic of needles. My dentist who has since retired administered novocaine while chanting to me, “You are going to the sunniest, breeziest Hawaiian Island you can think of, just get carried away, Marian . . . !

    • Breathing is an important thing to do, especially the long, deep inhales and slow out breathes that are helped by a sigh and lots of gratitude! I like the way your dentist sent you off to Hawaii! I’ve never had a dentist like that!

  6. Glad to hear that the creative juices are flowing. Change is exhausting partly because it is so stimulating. I wish you calm when you need it without losing the excitement of the new.

    Hope to see your new place one of these months. You must be at least a little sad to leave your beautiful big house.

  7. Joan Rough says:

    Thanks for your visit, Shirley. Hope it will be in person before too long.

    You’re right about change bringing on exhaustion because it’s stimulating. I don’t really miss the big house. As the days go by I’m realizing how much work it took to keep it up and running. Here in our new place, things are much simpler and manageable. And it has a coziness that we didn’t have in the other house.