Wednesday, April 30, 2014


A friend asked yesterday if I have written about thoughtfulness. It's a word that I love: to be filled with thought. It's connected with awareness and mindfulness, two ideas I've thought about a lot. I'm not sure that I've written on this blog about thoughtfulness, but it's as good a time as any.

At school we unpack thoughtful as thought-full, full of thought. Then I challenge students to have a moment of not thinking. They can't. Me either. I try to meditate or run into that state but find it only by accidents and lose it as soon as I have the thought that I'm not thinking. Damn.

Yet, I'm not often thought-full. I'm more half-full, distracted. Even writing this I'm listening to the Moody Blues, hearing the space heater, wishing I didn't need a heater late in April, and worrying that I'm running late. Setting those thoughts aside goes against habit. Doing one thing is good, but I'm not very good at it.

My friend was asking about thoughtfulness in writing. I'm more thoughtful when writing makes because the act of writing takes me deep into a thought. I thought about this since he asked yesterday, but writing this makes me truly thoughtful about it. I've still got the Moody Blues and clock on my mind, but this screen-full of words calls me back. I can push the other stuff away because I'm anchored here. The writing allows me to be thoughtful about one thing.

The experiment with my students shows that we walking through a rain storm of thoughts. Writing is a way to examine a raindrop. There's value in that which outweighs other concerns. The next song will play, Spring will come, I'll get to school on time. Those things are unworthy of much thought whereas this idea is. So is the practice of being thoughtful.

The last few days I've written about creating a new life. It require thoughtfulness and since I'm no good at meditation, I write and see things beyond the clutter occupying my mind. Writing creates space for the thought to grow, become clear, and make connections.

For months if not years I have stomped my feet, crying about my job, wishing to do something I love. I've been distracted, mostly by fear. I haven't been thoughtful enough.

It's too early to call it a trend, but lately writing has helped me create space, focus, push aside worry, and thought-fully begin transforming a wish into a plan. Writing about it has helped me apply for jobs, send writing out, read like a writer, and find connections between things I love to do.

It's no surprise that writing regular blog entries and moving forward have coincided. I don't need to be especially thoughtful to understand that I'm at my best and most thoughtful when I write on.