Rumpus Room – A Joyful Mind at Play

Imagination has always been strong in me, and daydreaming got me in a lot of trouble as a young person, so I thought it was something I should avoid. If I caught myself doing it, an inner voice would tell me I ought to be thinking of something specific. Think how stressed my mind has been all these years, trying so hard not to daydream, when that is one of the best exercises for a healthy brain, and it was the thing I knew instinctively I needed. Hearing Tara talk about this need the brain has to just meander, and lollygag and play like dolphins before a ship… Again, gosh darn it, those are not her words. She is a Scientist and she uses words absolutely properly. It’s me who keeps interpreting the things she says in these wonky ways. But this is how I see it, and it makes sense to me.

Once again, I am struck by the genius of Tara, and I am grateful beyond words. What a gift to be given: the Go-ahead to Daydream. All during my drive home from Eugene on Sunday, I was in a state of focused driving, paying attention to the road, and at the same time having a marvelous time be-bopping from one thought to another, with no real sense of direction, just letting my mind play.

There was amazing music in the background, the ever brilliant Dave Matthews Band, and the fresh memory of an amazing artist at work. I started thinking about the layers of talent that sweep together into these acts. There is a maturity that happens within the life of any artist, I think. Something happens when collaboration begins. When a musician takes a cue from someone he is jamming with, and suddenly a new sound takes shape, or when a performer takes cues from his audience and there is a living thing that happens in the room, something with a pulse and breath that is bigger than the combination of the personalities in play – something magical and large.

To anything of substance, there are layers. There are the surface things that first get your attention, and then the more subtle aspects that tug at you long afterward and keep you thinking, mulling over what transpired.

They say this is true of wine, but I know nothing of wine, and the really good stuff would be out of my price range anyway. Food has layers.

I know, I know, “Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it?”

Friendship has layers. There is instant chemistry, and then there is the comfort and sureness that come from long knowing. There are inside jokes, and shared experiences that can all come back to both of you with a song on the radio, or a scent in the air.

My husband keeps getting better the longer we’ve been together. He is funnier, more loving, a better dad, and a heck of a lot better looking than when we first met, and he was hot then. We just keep getting to know one another in different ways, and becoming more and more in tune.

Knowledge, wisdom, learning – they all come in layers or waves that continue to build on one another, until, with much time and attention, they have richness and boldness. The colors begin to blend perfectly, the shading is just right. Maturity makes the art take hold in a way that sinks in and feeds us more, perhaps, than the work of an ingenue. I don’t know. I am mesmerized by my children’s art. But the way my mind played today, it almost made me look forward to aging. To getting better and better at expressing myself as time goes by, and I stop worrying about trying to impress anyone. When my heart speaks what it wants to say, and the words tumble out, from long practice of sharing my heart.

As we were leaving the party last night, we were thanking our servers, and one gal said, “You were a pleasure.” We were delighted by that, and that was another thing that played on my mind today. I am a pleasure. When I have the time to let my mind play like this and tumble all over itself, joyfully being distracted by one fun thought after another, I feel refreshed and buoyant. It makes me realize that this is time I will find a way to carve out for myself, in order to have time for my brain to play and meander, hibernate and heal, and wallow in loveliness and laughter.

photo from here

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8 thoughts on “Rumpus Room – A Joyful Mind at Play

  1. It’s funny how we’re told very early in life to shut down things that are actually healthy for us. Like breathing deeply and loudly. And yes, letting the mind wander and daydream. Thanks for the “permission” to daydream! Feel a little liberated already. 🙂

  2. This is great writing, Liesl. I had to laugh when I read your bit about “You were a pleasure” because when you commented on my post, I wrote, “It’s a pleasure” (writing for you). How funny that I did that after you wrote simultaneously about onions with me! Cool. I love this piece. I suppose subconsciously I have been reluctant to let myself spend much time daydreaming. I agree with you, though, that it is important for your brain to do so. I also think that it is important for your brain to meditate and go for walks and think in the shower and all of that. This “down time” is a necessary part of having the “up time” be productive. You can’t have one without the other. Keep writing. You do fabulous work.

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