From some recent fall adventures (Shelter Island and the Hamptons) ..
These days find me writing 8, 10, sometimes 12 hours a day. At times, I find myself so excited about my work, so alive with ideas, that I feel physically overwhelmed with energy. This excitement can manifest as restlessness, tension, a slightly elevated heart rate — even nervousness.
In the past, I was unsure of what to do with this restless energy. At times I felt frustrated — as though I should not feel so physically affected by intellectual labor. And yet, the more mindfulness I bring into my academic work, the more I have come to compassionately accept that the brain is part of the body … as are the neck and shoulders that support that brain .. and the hands that do the typing. Mental work is always physical. Beginning here, accepting what is, I found my intuition leading me to move when overcome with intellectual energy — or when the body felt too tense or tired to continue writing.
And so it is that I’ve taken to regular autumnal walks before, between and after writing sessions. Being in nature brings things into perspective. It’s also an important tool in an academic’s arsenal of self-care. Fresh air. Soft rain. Blue skies. Skate clouds. Whatever comes, I lovingly embrace. Getting out of my office and out into the world during the work day keeps me sane and grounded. Sometimes I practice mindful walking. I’m always consciously breathing. But mostly, I simply allow myself to be in the flow of Life. In awe of the majesty of it all. Sunkissed by the glory.
When the spirit moves me – as it often does – I whip out my smart phone, click the microphone app – and begin to speak. Ideas about whatever I’m writing continue to manifest, crystallize and work themselves out in this way. And so it is that mindful walking has become another way of writing — an intuituve blending of mind and body, intellect and physicality .. corporal consciousness.