Some nights when I lay in bed my mind can start to run away with me. If I’m not careful it will take me straight to Worryville.
I start thinking about what needs to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and before you know it I’m concocting every possible scenario of what could go wrong. This makes sleep and just relaxing almost impossible.
What I have learned to do to combat these worries is to think about things I enjoy doing and solve those problems in my head while I am lying there waiting for sleep.
There is an interview with Walter Bedell “Beetle” Smith, who served as Chief of Staff for Eisenhower during WWII. During this interview he talked about Omar Bradley and how Bradley liked to solve algebraic equations to relax. I can only imagine the scope of problems and worries that Omar Bradley would have had as he was preparing to help lead the largest invasion force in the history of man. I would think that relaxing moments were far and few between.
I learned to do something similar to help me relax back in the days when my life was more hectic, back when I was a manager.
At that time I had suppressed my passion for music and playing but I filled the creative void with woodworking. When I think about all the fingers I could have lost back then it gives me chills.
What I discovered is when I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep or trying to get back to sleep and my mind was racing out of control worrying about the problems that were inevitable the next day at work, I could calm my mind by thinking about my current or upcoming woodworking project.
In my head I would try to see the finished piece and its design. I would think about simple designs and how to execute the design. I would devise how to make repeatable cuts, accurate straight lines and angles. I would think about what tools to use and what jigs I would have to develop.
This would eventually calm my nerves and for a few hours allow me to sleep.
Even now, after I have put all that stress and frustration of management behind me I still need to calm my mind.
What I now know, what I have learned, is the purpose of art.
The purpose of music /art (I consider woodworking a form of art) for me is to fill the void where worry wants to reside.
Now as I lie in bed I listen to music and it calms me so very quickly.
If I’m not listening to music I can work on poems or lyrics or melodies. I can review a song I’m working on make refinements in my head.
Music is there for me to fill the void when I’m not working on surviving.
Music is there for me to fill the void so I do survive.
Music fills the void that worry would inhabit.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.