One of the more troubling aspects of a wandering mind is the sense that there is “something wrong with me”.
While we may even be surrounded by caring others, who encourage us with reminders of past accomplishments, there is still a disconnect, an isolation.
The trouble of needing to explain our behaviors can be exhausting, often because it is hard to explain them even to ourselves:
– “yes, I can get some things done”
– “yes, a deadline helps”
– “yes, I can focus on a video game”
– “yes, I know that thing is important”
– “no, I don’t know why I have a hard time focusing on that important thing”
– “no, I don’t know why I procrastinated for 3 months when it only took me 30 minutes to complete”…
If you haven’t already, consider checking out the “Letters of a Wandering Mind” series which gets into the conditions that can create and exacerbate a wandering mind.
Beyond these reasons of what makes for a wandering mind, a vital concern is that disconnect because despite those caring others, a feeling of isolation can persist.
That isolation can worsen the sense that “there is something wrong”. When there is no around with whom to compare notes, confusion continues to cloud the mind.
But, as the saying goes, “Not all who wander are lost.” Having a wandering mind does not necessarily mean, “there is something wrong”. In fact, as I’m quite fond of saying, a wandering mind can be a powerful mind.
What is important is not to force one’s mind into some structure of “do this task” “don’t do that”. Any form of “control” is often bound to fail.
Instead, it is about guiding the natural waves of focus.
Waves have conditions that create them. What are they for you? Is it about interest? Urgency? Passion? What is the stimulation that helps you reach that window of challenge?
Those waves have momentum. Rather than just drop what you’re doing when something more urgent appears, what if you could guide that momentum? What would it take to feel that you could come back to something and that it would stay out of your way in the meantime?
Whether you do this work in isolation or with others, know that you’re not alone.
Meanwhile, as we learn to guide ourselves, rather than needing to answer these questions for ourselves or others, they become irrelevant. The tensions in our relationships may begin to dissolve and that feeling of isolation along with it.