What if your mind was blank for an entire ten minutes? Really, truly blank?
All of those thoughts that repeat what needs to be done, are gone. The judgements that wonder about the conversation you had yesterday, and if you should have said what you said, are hushed. The anxiety over whether you will hear from him, and whether you’ll write back straight away, is diminished.
What if your mind was really, truly blank?
I remember, at school, when the teacher asked a question, I would divert my gaze and clench my shoulders. An inward voice would beg for the silence to be broken by the gentle ruffle of an arm raising behind me, the ‘ooh, yes, me! I know!’ that would save me from being picked to answer.
How I dreaded to hear my name called.
If it was, I felt an entire classroom of eyes, rolling across my back, a powerful heat in my cheeks. I would perform a long-drawn-out display of thinking, praying for the teacher to move on. If this didn’t work, I’d whisper a croaky, ‘I don’t know.’
This isn’t the kind of blank I’m talking about. In these moments, the brain is on shutdown. It is screwed tight, like the eyes of the toddler who believes they cannot be seen.
In this state, we’re in a delusion, ‘acting out’ the I don’t know, behaving ‘as if’ there is nothing between our ears. For me, it was only ever because of a fear of getting it wrong, which affected me for years as a writer.
Gaining entry to this robustly protected space was powerful. By drawing on the courage to roam in the chance of humiliation, I was able to take the hand of the child whose eyes were screwed tight – gently, gently – so that they risked taking a peak at me – their older self.
‘Yes,’ I said when I had their full attention. ‘Look how it turns out. Not so bad, after all.’
Entering into this space, allows us to clear the debris so that we can develop true creative freedom. This means that we don’t have to do, and think, and do, and think, to muffle the feeling of classroom eyes upon us. We can be the artist and writer we have always wanted to be.
We can stop, for a moment, lift our gaze, drop the clench in our shoulders, and dare to catch eyes with the world around us. We discover that, in reality, it asks nothing. There is no wrong or right answer, simply the present moment.
Here, in the present, is where the mind is beautifully empty. Yes, there may be thoughts, but they are far enough off so that there is room to breathe. You hear what needs to be done in the way that distant birdsong calls through an open window. There is a voice wondering about that conversation yesterday, in the same way a TV might play from the room next door. And tomorrow is tomorrow, not even close to being here yet.
The world is no longer a classroom, waiting for you to break the silence. Your life is simply revealing the gift of you. Even though those thoughts are there, you decide to linger, just a moment longer in this quiet space as you realise that you feel something really rather wonderful. It's called inspiration, and sometimes we need to remember where it lies within us.
Make use of a one-off Creative Coaching session
It might be that you feel held back or blocked and a one-off coaching session to connect with that inner child can help. This is a lovely piece of work that I can’t recommend enough and once you experience the technique you will be able to use it time and again.