Wednesday, 26 June 2013

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is

~ TS Eliot, Four Quartets

Chris Corwin
"Lacks concentration," they said on report cards of my childhood.  They didn't know nuthin' then about the giant box of distractorama that is the interwebs.  This inability to concentrate on one thing for longer than a minute is why I flit online and open 60 different browsers at once, even though I'm only half focussed on any of them.  It's why I send off pieces of writing to editors too early.  It's why I need to meditate and why I can't start and it's why I initially wrote this blog post by hand.  The repetition that comes via things like writing by hand, and meditation, and doing the dishes, and yoga, is the new black, the constant rhythm and flow of something-that's-the-same-thing a potential ocean of cohesive peace, the opposite to the siren call of the internet.

I'm not the only one who has problems with focus.  Even without the health issues from which a lot of my attention issues stem, like many other writers I would still be battling the call of the internet and the problems that it creates when our minds are so full of other people's words it's harder to find our own.

I read on an ADHD site yesterday that when you are fully present to what is in front of you, time slows and expands.  I know this space.  It's where all the beauty happens.  It's what I'm searching for, that peace where I become so fully myself and so into the moment that I disappear.  That's eactly the reason why I used to get stoned.  Exactly it.

Sometimes I can't get to that space.  On bad health days I flail around in a hell of fractured flittering from one thing to the other, thinking I'll find somewhere to alight.  I keep trying through more distractions to reach the spaciousness and it is going in exactly the wrong direction.  I feel so stupid and clotted and at the mercy of my body, my ragged mind, my knee-jerk reactions that send me to look at Twitter, at Facebook, at the next link, when what I am craving for is to look @ No-Thing.

The No-Thing.  The fullest empty space that feels big enough to roll around in.  The space where the stories come from, and where we can hear ourselves stopping thinking. Where everything's turned to white.


  1. Oh yes, I relate to all this so much. Fractured flittering, yup.

    My personal little rule is, "When in doubt, wash dishes." Works every time.

    My kindergarten report card said, "Susan tends to go about things 'hurry, scurry, flurry.' She likes to start things but often doesn't finish them."

    I am happy to report that I have been meditating pretty much daily for over a year now - which is a f*cking miracle. I invented my own meditation system that works really well for me because it gives my busy mind something to do while helping me put awareness into my body.

    1. Hurry, scurry, flurry. What a lovely thing to have had written on one of your report cards! (Maybe not so great in practice but it was a lovely way in which to put it! :)

      That is an awesomeness, Susan, to have been meditating every day for a year. Sounds intriguing. Well done. I know personally how hard it is to get into practice, and the benefits of having done so. I need to find my own way back in.

      I wish they taught meditation in schools. I have an idea for a short course for writers running round in my head that has meditation as its base. Maybe *that* could be my own way back in - being forced by a deadline :)

  2. I was often referred to as a "daydreamer" in school reports. Something about "the task at hand", and my inability to dedicate full attention to it, haha!
    And, it doesn't help being a Gemini, where focus can often be easily diverted - like a cat by faceted crystal rainbows on the wall :)

    I so agree about this internet thing. This seemingly infinite web cast across the ether catching us all up in its sticky distracted-ness.
    I also have far too many tabs open at one time :)

    Though, I've been grateful on more than one occasion that it's there, to keep me from screaming into a pillow.
    I've found, through this backlit screen - this Narnia-like wardrobe - there are others who can relate - or frustrate, depending on which portal I enter.
    Far off places and images that enthral.
    And rabbit holes to fall into, that take me forever onto another adventure.
    It's where inspiration can sometimes fuel a smouldering fire within and/or cajole a reclusive muse out of hiding.

    I wish I could meditate without the worms continually writhing in my head. So, I turn to clay.
    Mostly, clay keeps me focussed in the present, especially when there are deadlines like markets and strict windows of time to adhere to.
    Perhaps that's my meditation, I dunno.

    I get what you say about being "fully present". It is where things happen.
    And, it is beautiful.
    I can also relate to those days when everything seems fractured and hard to grasp onto anything.

    What's also difficult (for me), is when family members, who have usually "had it together" all their life, can't relate to these fragmented days of shards.

    Often, there are times when I..... oh, look! Shiny!!

    1. Oh, yay for distraction by shiny things, Vicki! Those are the best kinds of distractions, aren't they? :)

      I soooooo think clay is a type of meditation. I first started playing around with it about five years ago when I started doing art therapy classes (with this lady, actually - http://fairweatherandfriends.blogspot.com.au/). As soon as I started playing with the clay she said, "I think you've found your medium." It always amazes me what comes out of it, and how time flies past while you're in that space. It's such a beautiful thing. But I haven't been doing it. I think it's the pummelling of the clay at the beginning that puts me off when my health is not awesome. I don't know what it is. I wish I'd find out.

      I think meditating with the worms continually writhing in your head is completely beneficial. It just doesn't feel like it. It's tiring, the over-and-overness of remembering to let them pass without getting caught up in them. But that, too, is meditation.

      Sheesh, talking about it - I think I'm gonna have to go and do it.

      Oh, and that thing of family members not being relate to those fragmented days of shards ... ouch. Because it's a very vulnerable spot, isn't it? You feel vulnerable inside those days. They need to be honoured by others, and it hurts when they're not. Well, *I* see them, and I honour them with you :)

  3. oh poo - no smiley.

    Here 'tis :)

  4. I often got, 'Can do better,' which it didn't seem so to me. Some sort of assumption on the teacher's part that having good brains gave you an obligation to have a drive to win. I had the first but never the second. Still don't, and I know now that that's ok. We don't all have to be competitive. There are other sways to be, though the modern world would have us believe otherwise.

    By the way, when I write I let myself check my personal email, then close everything on my desktop but my novel, listen to soft music without many words, and just write till I reach my allotted daily word limit. Then I can surf if I want but no distractions at the time of writing or I'm a goner. :)

    1. Oh, where has my reply to you gone, Keechy? I wrote it the other day!

      I love what you say here about not having a drive to be competitive being ok. That's a hard position to reach in our world, and even harder to stay with it. I think I need to sit at your feet for a bit and learn about the okayness of that :)

      Your personal writing habits are where I was at at one stage, and where I am very far from at the moment. I so admire your discipline! :)


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