A new addition to my 2024 morning routine is reading a daily reflection from a book called Everyday Mind. There are already quite a few dog-eared pages that particularly resonated with me, but one reflection written by Joseph Goldstein reached the level of blog-ability.

He reflects on getting lost in our thoughts, emotions, stories, and plans, and not actually being present in our lives. He describes that when this is happening we feel rushed, which doesn’t necessarily have to do with speed.

“We are rushing when we feel as if we are toppling forward. Our minds run ahead of ourselves; they are out there where we want to get to, instead of being settled back in our bodies.”

Heck yes! That is exactly where I’ve been at lately, and where I live more than I’d like. Another phrase that describes this phenomenon is monkey mind, and that feels like the default for my brain. Leaping and swinging from thought to thought, idea to idea, one to another with no space in between.

I get a rush from my ideas and from seeing them through to completion, but there is also stress and exhaustion and two important things that get lost in the thinking and planning…me and the present moment.

It makes me think a bit about addiction. I’ve never experienced addiction to a substance or an activity like gambling or video games. But I am addicted to thinking and doing. It shows up similarly to an addiction, in that it is hard to do in moderation, and it takes over. There is that pressure to do, do, do; think, think, think. The difficulty of being still and quiet when I feel the thoughts right there calling to me…just like that bag of chips in the pantry or the wine in the rack.

And so this is another place to look for wisdom, for the in-between where I can accomplish things without the pressured rush. A more mindful swinging from branch to branch. Not allowing my mind to operate on its default mode, and instead to gently turn it toward slowing down. Never stopping, but slowing to a pace that brings more ease and flow. Wish me luck! Wait, no, wish me skill and grace and practice because those are the things I need.