I have a restless mind. I know this, I dislike this, I barely accept this. I have a hard time concentrating simply because I’m always thinking of the thing that needs to be done next, or something I should be doing, or something that isn’t getting done, or just flat-out going brain-numb from mental exhaustion. I always have 33% of my brain focused at the boys, even when they’re not nearby; it’s Mom Radar, I can’t turn it off. Mental chatter clutters up my thoughts; that inner voice telling me it’s not good enough, that inner voice telling me I’m on the wrong life path, that inner voice screwing with my mind.
It didn’t used to be this way. Long ago, before marriage and kids and the piling-on of responsibilities (yes, this would be labeled college), I could focus for hours at a time. Solitary flute practice made the hours just melt away. Flow. It relaxed and filled my soul. Not just making music and being alone and deep, controlled breathing, but sustained concentration. The very sustained concentration I no longer have the luxury of enjoying, and is oftentimes mentally distressing. I discovered that last week when I had jury duty; I couldn’t mentally check out and by the time I was finally released I was exhausted.
But. I discovered last night that I still have the ability to sustain focus for long periods of time and it was delicious.
Last night, a dear friend and I decided at the very last minute to travel into Denver to hear Krishna Das and sing kirtan. We had promised each other that when Krisha Das returned to the area that we would go, no matter what. Finding out he was in Denver 2 hours before the concert? Well, I’m glad she gently prodded me out of my not-terribly-spontaneous state of mind.
The two and a half hours flew by. I haven’t felt that kind of Flow in years. Singing, feeling, moving with the music, being the music. It was trance-like, the best part of Flow. And my restless mind…rested. Breathed in the moment. Floated on the music. I didn’t want it to end. The peace in my mind, in my body, in my soul…it had been too long.
I’ll sing kirtan again, soon I hope. Krishna Das will be in Chicago on Thursday, and so will I. Trying to figure out a way to justify going again, if only to feel that peace once more.
But now I have proof that my restless mind can relax, that it is not damaged beyond repair by daily stressors, and that I really do need to make this a higher priority in my life.