Monday, December 19, 2011

To the doodlers, the daydreamers, the lost

Copyright M. Kelly

Some words to ponder from Henry David Thoreau:

"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves."

In my land of curious synaptical leaps, this, of course, connects to doodling. I believe unshakably that our best focus comes down to the point of a pen or pencil. There are others who share and support this notion. One of them presents her thoughts here.

Between staring out the window, my splendid view being of treetops and the sky, and doodling, I am never more than inches from a pen and paper, I could easily be chosen Least Certain to Pay Attention in any group. I maintain it is more likely that our very best ideas and interpretations come from inner-generated concepts rather than from those forced upon us by the outside world.

Doodling, or sky gazing, connect me to a fluid mental state where the obsessive and compulsive no longer exist. I am afloat on a vast Jules Verne-esque subterranean sea of imaginative no-thought. With no credentials whatsoever, I propose that we are the better, the saner, the more tranquil for time spent outside the company of conscious, purpose-filled thought. There are no lists in doodling, no clocks. The notion of here is in a state of flux, for we are free-wheelingly transported by a mind no longer under the influence of nine forward gears. (We seemed to get along very well with four, maybe five speeds, four plus overdrive in a 1956 Austin Healey 100-4. More has never meant the same as better.)

We may become lost through denial, avoidance, illness, forgetfulness, apathy, indifference and life being life. We get thrown off the bus, drummed out of the corps, abandoned, rejected, ignored, shunned and snubbed. We can also choose to be lost inside our daydreams or within the lines and shapes of doodles. Once removed from our thinking, ordinary-reality selves, we have time and space to encounter spirit. It is my theory that spirit always seeks to connect with us, to reach us beyond all that is busy and distracting, and will use whatever means are necessary. In my experience, spirit finds us through health-crises, through seismic shifts, through reversals of fortune if our attention can't be caught any other way. Or we can volunteer as doodlers and wool-gatherers and see what happens.

In her TED talk, Sunni Brown explains how doodling assists in retaining information, demonstrating how it is not a wasteful activity. Beyond that, I believe it aids us in uncovering information, allowing us access to collective knowledge or our own greater, undiscovered wisdom. By wandering away from ourselves, we are returned but at another level. Lost does not equate with emptiness. Lost is how we begin to fill.

19 comments:

susan t. landry said...

Just revised my nickname for you, which has heretofore been Angel of the World. You've been promoted to Angel of the Universe. My jaw droppeth at your wisdom. Srsly.
Xoxo
Susan
(one of the Little Ordinaries,, your minions.)

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - xoxo to you. I will have to walk through the rest of today with The Big Head, such nicknames. Truth is, I am never entirely sure if I've gotten it right or am gibbering in tongues. If it makes sense to me, I'm generally a bit suspicious. Thank you. xo, encore.

toomuchaugust said...

oh yes you've gotten this alllll right. and just always when i am in need of such alignment of layers.

a friend lost her daughter in 1995. horrifying. in 1999 she got up the nerve to pull her daughter's sewing machine out of the closet just so she could touch the pot holders her daughter had made. but then- what? she started doodling and all these images came to her. and in these layers of what you've described, she was returned fully back to her own spirit. she says, through the help of her daughter's. now she her quilts have become international sensations with the doodles she has quilted into them. your post finished explaining all this better than i can.

truly, you amaze. do not doubt, just doodle further...

sherry

Isabel Doyle said...

Thank you

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you for sharing the story, which goes a long way to support the writer's admonition, show, don't tell. We are sometimes halted by not knowing what to call a thing and our waving hands and stumbling words are of no help in creating the definition so we can let Google take us there. Whatever led your friend, and leads us in our most attentive moments, is something for which I am very grateful. I do like a good outcome. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Isabel - Hello, you are welcome. Thank you for your visit and leaving a note. xo

Rubye Jack said...

Interesting stuff, and it makes a lot of sense to me. I shall endeavor to doodle more often. :)

For some reason, my follower thing doesn't "stick" on your blog, but I've discovered a few others I joined recently where I don't stick also. However, your blog shows up on my list of blogs but not blogger updates. I'm going to make it a point to check your blog occasionally because I really enjoy what you have to say.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Some of the greatest ideas come from doodling...I've even had afew of my own. I think that you're so right about mindlessness and letting your mind wander where it will. It's a child like thing.

Antares Cryptos said...

Content.:)

beth coyote said...

O joy o rapture. Yes.

I pulled my first child out of her 1st grade class because her teacher told me she 'daydreamed' too much. Ha!!!! The stuff of art and music and poetry lives in our aimlessness. The luxury of 'doing nothing' is where we reconnect with ourselves, Indra's Web.

XXX Beth

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a good way to look at "doodling". I never thought of this before, what a great way to open up the world of thought in ourselves and those around us.
Thank you!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Responses to your much-appreciated comments will be posted tomorrow. Thank you for your patience. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rubye - Sometimes the pen feels like another digit, so familiar to the hand, so constant. I recommend doodling with almost mad fervor. Your photo and name appear in the block of Followers to the left of my posts and I have no idea why Blogger chooses to pretend this is not so. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for thinking. What the world may need now is love, but it also needs thinking. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kerry - It is childlike, unfettered, and proof that certain parts of the mind CAN do two things at once, as long as one of them doesn't require conscious thought. I am usually floating in some direction on unseen currents. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - Anyone with your penchant for pens could not hope to escape doodle mania. And aren't we glad? :)

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - Daydreamed too much...there is no such state. How does one choose to teach without recognizing the source of inspiration, the somethings that come from apparent nothings. Thank you for "Indra's Web" which was a new phrase to me. For readers, here is a link which introduces the concept: http://www.renamusic.com/2/rena-jones-indras-net/, as expressed musically. Nothing like having shorthand words for a metaphor for the structure of reality. A gift and I thank you. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Anonymous - Welcome. Whatever will carry us to that altered state where ordinary reality does not call all the plays. And besides, doodling is fun and has no unwelcome side effects. Thanks for visiting and commenting. :)

Jayne said...

"Lost is how we begin to fill." Marylinn, I think you are themost quotable blogger I've come to know. What a beautiful piece you've crafted here.

Interestingly (at least to me) I had this very same type of doodle conversation with my sister during our holiday gathering. We wondered if our respective children's doodle habits in the classroom were healthy, and came to the conclusion that, indeed, the practice of doodling serves them well. In fact, my son's teachers all understand that when he begins to fill the margins of his notebook with his art, he is fully connected to what is happening in the room, and they have his rapt attention.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - Thank you. It is my search for peace with the parts of myself that don't seem to match what we are shown of the world that leads to discovering the gifts in what might be called deficiencies. (not my best sentence ever) And not just doodling, but don't you think that somehow everything we do ends up in or informing our work? How swell. xo