a place for the curious

Tag: quiet

Free-range thoughts

Etching of frog in front of toadstools


There’s a lot of stuff going on in here [taps head] at the moment. Ideas come and go. They burn bright and rush away. Thoughts loop around. And around. And around. It’s like a somewhat faulty fireworks display.

There’s advice everywhere about how to write more, or find new photos, or set challenges to create new things. That’s not what I need. I need a way to shut out all the new stuff, so I can find a more meaningful image or write a better story. It’s pinning the damn things down that’s the problem.

How do you do it? A mind bubbling over with great swags of free wheeling notions might sound like a good thing. But it ain’t always so. The question so often posed is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ A more apt one might be ‘how do you stop them from getting in?’ How can you concentrate on just one thing?

That’s not to say I’m coming up with mind-blowing and original concepts. To say that would involve a level of ego I don’t even wish to aspire to. But a couple of them aren’t half-bad. What a shame that they’re buried in the clangor from a swarm of half-crazed, babbling gnats.

I’ll tell you one thing that I do, if you like. I may as well. There’s no getting anything done in this head right now.

I go outside. I sit in the sun. And I stare vacantly at the horizon. Sit, gaze, repeat. Then maybe, when everything is still and quiet, I find I can pick out one single thing. An intriguing notion or idea. Then I treasure it. Give it my full attention. And a little love. But I never, ever give it a deadline. I give it time.

Will this work for you? I can’t say for sure. Does sitting in the soft winter sunshine do you any harm? Nope. So, go on. Get outside. Take a moment from your day and set out to achieve absolutely nothing.

A moment of your time

Sunrise breaking through after a rain, in a major city mallIt’s winter down here right now. We don’t get snow and while it gets pretty close to zero overnight, in the middle of the day it can be sunny, almost warm. Other days the skies are full of grey, rolling clouds and the paths shimmer from the rain. I’ve been trying to capture that eloquent moment between the rain and the sun. I haven’t found it, but something like it found me a couple of weeks ago.

When I step out to find a story or a picture, I sometimes find myself actively searching for that perfect moment. But it’s not there. It’s not sunny enough. It’s not cloudy enough. There aren’t enough people. There are too many people. I just can’t get it quite right.

And then I let go. Because the perfect moment isn’t something you can hunt down. It comes to you, as a surprise moment in the early morning or a glimpse between strangers on a train. You could spend months looking for it. But if you glance away, sometimes that’s when it’s there. Look away. Let it go. Relax and let your mind drift free. And there it is.

Of course, it isn’t perfect. Perfection isn’t truly attainable. It’s really that you were looking for that ‘certain something’. The moment when you see it or hear it, whatever it is.

Maybe the best way to find that moment is to give yourself the gift of time.

Allow your mind to wander. Let it meander aimlessly. Leave the door open and see what drifts in. Most often, it’s nothing. And that’s just as beautiful.

Stop the noise and allow yourself a little bit of quiet.

A moment in time.

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