Taking the Time to Think

hammock michelle chahine sinno photo credit photography

The other day, in the middle of the afternoon, I realized that what I needed, and wanted, more than anything, was time to think. Dedicated, specific time where I wouldn’t do anything but sit down and think.

Not the thoughts that weave in and out of the workday when your mind wanders (around 3pm, am I right?) Not the scrambling ideas that swirl in your head while you’re driving–mostly about what you have to do next–intertwined with NPR News. Not the daydreaming that may happen in a moment of distraction—which is important, but another issue. Not even the quiet, happy thoughts that come into your mind when you’re doing one of your active hobbies (cooking, walking your dog) or spending time with your family.

Deliberate, intentional thought. Big picture thinking and imagination.

Gloria Steinem Quote Dreaming Imagination Planning

I wanted an hour to myself to think… about my life, about what I wanted, about where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be, what I wanted for my family and loved ones, what we need to have a happy and fulfilled life. We get so caught up in what we have to do every day. It becomes essential to make sure all the work, the rush, always being busy… is being done for the right things, the right reasons, the right goals. It’s important every once in a while, in the hustle of everything going on, balancing work, eating well, sleeping well, hobbies, taking care of yourself and your family, enjoying the summer… to have quiet time to deliberately reflect.

Do you ever feel that way? That you are too busy to think, and you just need a moment where you have nothing else to do but organize your thoughts. (Too bad pensieves aren’t readily-available objects.)

And so that’s what I did. I decided to go home after work and do nothing but sit with my dog and my journal and think about these questions. What did I really want? What was my vision?

Joseph Campbell quote

Last week, I read this inspiring piece for work about asking yourself what you real want. So I followed the author’s advice, and wrote it down based on her 1 rule.

And a couple of months ago, I also read this great article about how to write your vision statement, which includes a specific formula. I had already taken a stab at it during my summer vacation, but I wanted to think about it some more. Every couple of weeks I have this urge, and I go straight home to Minjay–who seems to get it and snuggles next to me on the bed and help slow down the pace and my racing thoughts.

I ended up with less than half an hour to spare the other day, instead of the hour I had wanted, but that felt like more than enough to focus on the vague concepts floating around my mind trying to gain some attention and get some important things out of my head and into my journal. Sometimes I free-type for 15 minutes. Sometimes I just close my eyes and try to create some order.

I could have filled that time with many other things: mundane from doing the dishes or paying bills to important like squeezing in time to work on my writing, but I knew it was more important to me, that day, to sit alone, in a quiet room with myself and the soothing breathing of a napping dog, and take stock, even if only for 20 minutes.

Blaise Pascal quote

So here’s my second challenge on this blog: Try it out! You can read the 2 articles above, and they can guide you. Or you can come up with your own personal questions and answer them.

Let me know if you take the challenge and how it goes in the comments below.




P.S. I took the photograph above. yesterday night in the Pacific Palisades park. I figured if he could make the time to set up that hammock, sit there, read and enjoy the summer breeze, so can the rest of us. Maybe not every day, but making the effort once in a while adds up. In any area of life. I mean, look at that view.

Quotes via Arianna Huffington’s Instagram. She shares a great collection related to work-life balance and slowing down. I recommend following along and reading her book Thrive.


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