Wandering: traveling aimlessly from place to place; itinerate.
Wandering is a concept that has been really forced into my consciousness since the middle of this spring. It began one morning when I was listening to a podcast. The podcast I was listening to in particular has since escaped my memory, but it was a podcast believe you me. Anyways, one of the speakers on this podcast was the British journalist Johann Hari. He was discussing his most recent book, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions. In this podcast, Johann had touched on the concept of boredom. I believe the discussion was centered around social media and screen addiction, or something similar. He spoke about boredom in a way that I was connecting with differently than I ever had before. Moments later, I got out my phone, downloaded the audible app, and bought the audio-version of his book.
I could go on for a very, very long time about this book of his. It changed my life in such amazing ways. I believe I will write about this book at another time because it impacted me in such a profound way, but for now I am only touching on the inspiration I got from the discussion of boredom.
Boredom is something we always try to escape from. If you are bored, you are often times angry, angsty, or agitated. If you are bored, common sense tells you that you MUST find something to do, to get away from the boredom. For me, real boredom was not something I had experienced for a long time. We may mistake our feelings of loneliness and despair as boredom at 3am while we continue to watch an endless stream of shows on Netflix, but I feel as though real, true boredom is something that has vanished from our everyday lives since the integration of our various technologies that many of us have practically stitched onto our bodies. The boredom that I was hearing about was the type of boredom I experienced when I was a kid. When it was summer, and I was walking around with my friends, or sitting in the hot ass sun with ‘nothing’ to do. The kind that made 15 minutes seem like 15 days. REAL boredom.
The suggestion brought up in this book is one that I have actually seen mentioned several times since my discovery of it, which is just how things work I guess. The suggestion is that we really should be trying to incorporate boredom into our daily lives, in some capacity. The allowance of boredom is the allowance of real creativity. When our minds are just left to think about nothing and everything, but in a good way, at a designated time, when we aren’t supposed to be using our brain for anything in particular. This idea really vibed with me, as I was at a point where I was attempting to pull out as much hidden creativity from my psyche as possible so I could start some new projects.
I started trying out some ways to inhibit boredom throughout my week immediately. I stopped pulling out my phone at stoplights, in elevators, or while waiting in line at coffee shops. I started keeping track of any time I was pulling out my phone for no reason other than to avoid eye contact with another human or to avoid boredom (this was such a subconscious action I was amazed at how often I checked my phone for no damn reason).
I also began making time to take several walks throughout the week, with no phone on me, and no set destination. I would step outside of my door, and let my intuition lead the way. Shortly after I began doing this, my close friend Joe suggested I read the book The Wander Society, by Keri Smith. This book discusses the works of Walt Whitman, among many others, and their insistence that more people escape their every day lives once in awhile and allow time to just wander. Now, if you plan to be part of The Wander Society, you have a bit of work to do while you are wandering. The tasks suggested in the book did not particularly sound like something I wanted to do, but the message resonated with me, nonetheless, as I had already been incorporating wandering into my weekly routine. Wandering quickly became one of my favorite activities, and is one of my favorite hobbies still!
What I have discovered is that wandering, and allowing myself to be bored, not only gives me a chance to still my mind a bit, but really expands all creative aspects that are within me. While I am wandering, I am able to be awake with my true self and with the earth. I feel like I get the opportunity to encounter my own presence, my true, higher self. I find myself singing, laughing, talking, and conversing all aloud, with myself. It is honestly a beautiful experience. I have also found that meditating for about 20 or 30 minutes before setting out on one of my adventures really allows my juices to flow. At the end of my wanderings I am always filled with gratitude, wisdom, and a very deep sense of satisfaction with my current physical experience.
My suggestion to everyone reading this is: cut out some time a few days a week to meditate and wander. Try to go for at least an hour, and really aim to find a balance between being totally immersed and aware of your surroundings and letting your mind run completely wild. You will amaze yourself with the ideas you have and the inspiration you give yourself. Not only is this practice good for creativity, but it is also a very healthy way to reflect if that is something that is needed.
Who else is out there wandering? I’d love to hear about others’ experiences or different things they add to their wandering routines! Comment or send me a message!