Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Boredom Is Good!

Today in the Science Times, one of my favorite sections of the New York Times, is an article entitled "You're Checked Out, but Your Brain is Tuned In." The article states that "it's time that boredom be recognized as a legitimate human emotion that can be central to learning and creativity." (The quote is from The Cambridge Journal of Education.)

This is good news for me. For years I was the kind of person who was always doing something. Working, exercising, reading, writing, going constantly. I loved when Zoe was little and I could spend hours in the park talking to other parents and babysitters. I really enjoyed the feeling of community, but then I would have to race home and work on something. I even enjoyed doing the laundry because it gave me a feeling of accomplishment and that was always the goal. The only time I watched TV was when I was too exhausted to do anything else and then I generally passed out on the couch in the middle of "Law and Order."

Sometime in the past couple of years though, that attitude has shifted for me. Maybe it was when I was dealing with some serious family problems, my mother was very ill, Zoe was having issues at school, and I started walking a lot to help me deal with the stress. I always went to the gym, but while I was there I usually talked to friends or listened to music, so I was always distracted. But somehow walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, or walking through Central Park, I came to really enjoy having no distractions. Essentially walking with my own thoughts, or trying not to think, just being.

I have friends who have always been good at this. As the article states: "It's the difference between the sort of person who can look at a a pool of mud and find something interesting, and someone who has a hard time getting absorbed in anything." Susie (if you're reading this) - you are the pool of mud person and I really admire that about you. I can almost always get absorbed, but I understand that for many people, there's a constant search for distraction.

I do find that I often get my most creative ideas when I just let my mind wander. And meditation is another way of clearing my mind, which is why I enjoy it.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about Buddhism and the idea that when you are feeling really bad, really suffering, Buddhism says you should allow yourself to sit with the pain. And therapy has taught me that too, that rather than fighting it, you should allow yourself to wallow (well, maybe not wallow, maybe just BE in it.) And then my friend and I agreed that when you do that, sit with it, it really stinks. It's really misery to be so down. But then eventually it does pass. And you find that you haven't gained ten pounds in one weekend, or spent too much money, or drank too much, or slept with someone you never want to see again. (Although it's been awhile since I did that.)

Anyway, it's possible that I've managed to bore you to death with this post and if I have, I am quite pleased.

One more thing...I got the DVD of our monologue performance night and I have to say that I wasn't miserable about it, it was pretty good. Except that next time I perform, I will have done thousands of biceps curls so my arms look tighter, I will have lost ten pounds and will be wearing my contact lenses. The best part of seeing it though, is being able to study and learn from it.

Thank you Jake!

1 comment:

Mia said...

So, can I make a date with you to view the DVD?