deliberate daydreaming

deliberate daydreaming

Sometimes focus feels impossible. Sometimes your imagination, your creativity and your drive seem to have vanished without warning. Sometimes thoughts and ideas spin so frantically you can’t catch them.

And, there are moments when it all seems to magically work – the better part of a day slips by without notice while you’re completely lost in a glorious flow state – effortless, creative and productive.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all at your command, to be able to summon deep focus, motivation and drive, ingenuity, and sparkling original ideas as needed or desired.  But our minds don’t work like that. Our minds do what they like and so often just the opposite of what we’re looking for.  Practice, training and attention help though and I’m always on the look out for ways to improve – stuff to try – ways to reach the deepest parts of my imagination and creativity.

Something I have come across a lot is the idea of alternating focused work with distraction in an intentional way – one example is The  Mac Gyver Method – which I love and use all the time.

And Earnest Hemingway talks about the value of letting things percolate in The Movable Feast :

“It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything.”

Last week I heard the term “deliberate day dreaming” for the first time In this podcast episode  (If you are curious about why your brain does what it does you will particularly enjoy this episode).  I even like the sound of it – deliberate daydreaming – I like the idea of an intentional, daily invitation to let your mind meander and watch where it goes.

My mind wanders off all the time without permission – especially while I’m doing pleasantly (for me) repetitive tasks. I think it’s part of what attracts me to things like hand sewing and paper mache.

tiny rag doll

So I wonder what the effect of intention and daily practice will be. I’m test driving the idea for the next month – devoting 10 minutes everyday to “deliberate daydreaming”.  I will let you know how it goes and if you feel like experimenting with me I’d love to hear about it.

7 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to explore those links! The necessity of daydreaming was brought home to me by my dear priest, Fr. Kelly. He is a small Irishman from County Mayo, plays the harp like an angel. I was discussing with him a particularly difficult situation in my life, and his advice was to allow myself the practice of daydreaming. He said, “You have a creative soul, and it needs to be fed every day. Allow yourself the gift and mysticism of daydreaming. That is when the true nature of your gifts will be revealed.”
    Thank you so much for this post!

  2. I love what you wrote Cindy! Thank you.
    I also love the phrase ‘deliberate daydreaming’.
    I was about to write this and now I am. In my late teens I used to go to be bed during the day (I would say) specifically to dream. It was a way out of struggling with life as teens are want to do and it made my ‘shutting down/shutting out’ feel productive. And it did get me through!

  3. Dawn Cliff

    This is so true I have recently begun devoting a part of the day to this although I didn’t know what it was called I just found by accident that when I allowed myself ‘thinking’ time the block seemed to lift. Much prefer the name ‘deliberate daydreaming ‘ though x

  4. Penny Baugh

    This is a lovely post. Quite timely since many of us are inside so much this time of the year — with only our own thoughts to entertain us. I’ve been working on my ‘in the moment’ process. I too love the quiet, repetitive stuff and try to let my mind wander only into quietude, peace and contentment.

  5. An excellent post, along with The MacGyver Method. Solutions to design problems have come to me in a similar fashion, but I need to more consciously engage my subconscious. Thank you for such encouraging reading!

  6. Many artists, writers and even neurologists talk about allowing your mind and brain to be free of clutter. Sit quietly and wait to be amazed by what is revealed

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