An Exercise in Free Thinking

March 21, 2020

I spent a solid hour and a half this morning free thinking. Usually, I only have this luxury when I'm walking ... that's actually when I do my best thinking and problem-solving. But, this morning was so different. It happened spontaneously as I was twisting my hair ... no television or phone, just quiet, and I didn't realize that my thoughts were free of planning and obligations and anxious "what-iffing" until I remembered a fellow writer telling me not too long ago that she spends time on weekends with her four grandmothers. Probably looking as if I was trying to imagine how she could be with all of her grandmothers at one time, she shared the most beautiful peek into her life: Her maternal grandmother's sisters don't have any grandchildren, so they've all become her grandmas and she calls each of them "grandmother." I fell in love with that thought and clearly tucked it away in my mind where it was pushed aside by the daily demands of life. We spend so much of our days overstimulated by access to what seems like the entire world now, thanks to social media. And when we're not scrolling online, we're plotting and strategizing what we need to do to meet all of life's obligations. But, this time of semi-seclusion, we have an opportunity to change so much about how we go about each day. That memory of the family of grandmothers popped into my thoughts this morning because there was space for it to freely float to the forefront. And that made me so happy. It also let me know that we have a chance right now, in so many areas, to change what we're doing and how we're doing it. One thing we can do is set aside time for free thinking every day.

To do this, we need to unplug and fill our minds with more enriching stimulation so that what our thinking produces edifies us. The better your time spent and subsequent life experiences, the better your life.
- Read a book (Maybe even start a book club with your friends!)
- Talk to friends and family (If you can Facetime or Google Hangout, even better.)
- If you're going to be online, use the time you're spending there acquiring the knowledge of something new (Think, documentaries; Youtube tutorials for skillsets you've always wanted; learn a new language, etc.)
- Meditate (Put the phone down, turn the television off, surround yourself with quiet and just be in that moment.)
- Try new recipes (BonAppetit Magazine and NYTimes Cooking are my two favorite sources on IG of goooood eats that I can try.)
- Take a walk (There is nothing like being in nature. Period.)

What I'm saying is that what we put into our minds is what we produce in our daily lives. We spend an increasing amount of time as vicarious revelers (pun intended)  admiring the lives we see others living online. No. Let's use this time of social distancing to make our own lives better from the inside out.

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  1. I've been preaching this gospel for some years now. I've also decided to limit my social media usage by only using it on my laptop and not my phone. I've stop sleeping next to my phone and now leave it in the kitchen before going to bed. I miss going for runs but will try to implement that in my new routine because the thinking I use to do during the time is the reason i've come so far today. Thank you for the reminder!


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