I had one of those restless sleepless nights with a kaleidoscope mind. It reminded me of an article I had written a long while ago, and I thought it would be worth revisiting.
What is a kaleidoscope mind? It happens to all of us, or at least to me. We find ourselves super tired, and I’m trying to fall asleep. When we close our eyes, our mind just seems to ping pong all around hitting on just about every imaginable subject and worry. We blame it on all kinds of factors; too much coffee or caffeine, that action movie we just couldn’t stop watching before bedtime, work issues we weren’t able to put out of our mind, or it’s a full moon (my personal favorite). Sometimes it isn’t any of these things, it just happens.
In an effort to gain control of our ping ponging kaleidoscope mind, we do such things as count backwards or count sheep. We all have a list of things that we hope will work that will allow our mind to calm. But the effort is usually futile. Then we try a sleep aid or a glass of warm milk (yuck) and that has absolutely no affect. Our mind has other ideas and it does pretty much what it darn well pleases. Like an unattractive kaleidoscope, our mind will tumble around to wherever it chooses to land. Thus providing a vision full of images that are distracting, disturbing or of a frustrating nature. And we are wide-awake.
When we’re finally able to fall asleep, we wake up the next morning not feeling rested and certainly not ready to face another day. Don’t you just hate that when it happens?
I believe this whole buzzy; kaleidoscope mind thing goes a lot deeper than what we find ourselves blaming it on. I think it’s because we aren’t able to give ourselves the gift of a quiet mind. Think about it. When we find ourselves in a quiet place, or there is silence or a pause in our conversation we immediately try to fill it up with something. So we turn on the TV at home or the radio in our car, pick up our smartphones and start looking at what ever we look at or surf the net in search something we think we need. When in a conversation and the conversation wanes, we find ourselves continuing to talk, or we will ask a superfluous question. We busy ourselves this way even though we know there’s nothing to be gained by doing so. The list of “fill space” choices is endless. So when we are ready for bed our brains are often on overload, and we get the ping pongee, “Kaleidoscope” effect.
I wonder. Is it because we just don’t know what to do with those quiet moments? Is it because we have a compulsion to fill every waking moment with some kind of activity of perceived worthwhile value? It has occurred to me we are simply not comfortable with a quiet or silent anything, including our mind.
OK, so here is where I’m heading with this. I walk every day for about an hour. In that hour, I do not listen to my iPhone, iPod or have a conversation with anyone. I only have my GPS to track my walk, and I walk alone. I take different routes to mix it up to keep it interesting. It takes about 15 minutes into my walk before my mind starts to slow and quiet. That’s when I really start to see what’s around me. When that happens, what I marvel at is what I’m really able to see and where my mind takes me for the rest of my walk. It’s as if my mind is uncaged and now free to wonder, and WOW, my kaleidoscope mind quiets, then shows me something amazing and beautiful. A peaceful feeling comes over me, and I am able to enjoy the moment and all the beauty that surrounds me.
What I’ve learned may come as no surprise to you. When I’m able to quiet my mind, for even just a little bit, some of my most creative ideas and thinking will magically surface to my conscious mind. Clear, unmuddied thoughts just seem to come out of nowhere. The best part is the peace it brings me is magical.
For a dyslectic like myself, a quieted, uncluttered mind is super important. So if that is the outcome, why is it we find ourselves choosing to avoid the quiet? Are we afraid of what we might see or find out about others, our situation or ourselves? I believe it’s because we simply do not know how. Like so many things, it takes awareness and practice to gain the remarkable benefits of a quiet our kaleidoscope mind.
When we’re out there trying to “Find Our Way, Now” and in the future, no matter what we’re doing, be it work, or everyday life, we need to look for ways to find that quiet space. Get comfortable with it and then see what happens. You will be amazed.
To give us the gift of a quiet mind may take a little effort and some time, but it is so worth the outcome. This may not eliminate an unexpected kaleidoscope mind and sleepless nights, but it will help in so many other ways.
Life’s journey continues…
PS: What are some of your favorite stories? If you would like to write a guest post about an experience, we would love to hear from you.
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