morning tributaries to your mind

I like to think that when we wake up in the mornings our minds are a clean slate. A broad, flowing river of energy, thoughts and new ideas. 

While sleeping our brains have scrubbed all of the unnecessary information we put in to it yesterday, retaining only the most essential memories, skills, and moments.

When our eyes open it's as if a page has been turned and we're - for yet another glorious day - facing life with fresh possibility. Like sitting on a dock watching the sun rise over the expanse of our minds.

I've been reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic lately and one of the stickiest ideas I've walked away with is that Ideas - of all colors, shapes and sizes - are OUT there, looking for the right people to bring them to life. Ideas don't come from us, they come THROUGH us - like a river passing by -  and all we have to do is listen for and pay attention to the ideas that come to our attention.

If your mind is like a river, consider it fed by multiple tributaries. When you wake up in the morning the river is calm, quiet, broad and deep. As your awareness comes in to focus, though, you make decisions about which tributaries to turn on for the day.

There's the Facebook tributary. The twitter and Instagram tributaries. The texting and email tributary. There are the tributaries fed by those around you who you give attention to - others' opinions, behaviors, ideas about what's important, right or wrong, or should be given energy to that day.

The more tributaries you open up the more clouded the broad river of your own mind becomes. The less attention you're able to pay to YOUR ideas, your river of inspiration, insight, and new thought.

If my phone is anywhere near my person when I'm sleeping, one of the first things I'll do in the morning is click it to life, note any notifications that came through overnight, and sometimes do a quick scroll of Instagram or some frequented news sites.

What I've realized, though, is that this habit puts the the flow of the TRIBUTARIES - thoughts, ideas, priorities that are NOT mine - into the main river first thing in the morning. I'm essentially deciding to prioritize THOSE waters over the quieter, deeper, less urgent but even more powerful flow of my own thinking and the ideas out there waiting for my attention to soften enough so that they can creep in.

New ideas like quiet spaces. Calm. Within that space they can roar in like a train OR skitter around on the edges like an alert and flighty chipmunk.

But what matters is that you allow for space. That when you wake up - and throughout your day - you become conscious of when you are stopping your OWN flow of thought and insight for the sake of someone else's.

Yes, it will be quiet at first. But within that quiet will show up riches.

Allegra SteinComment