I don’t know much about lucid dreaming, especially considering that I have basically stopped having vivid, memorable dreams altogether. I remember being a kid and having these incredibly vivid mental pictures and happenings while I was fast asleep, but at this point, I couldn’t tell you how long it’s been since those experiences have passed.
I think maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m never truly able to relax anymore. Whether it’s worrying about one of the many things I’ve over-promised on or simply worrying about how I’m going to manage the things I’ve already got going on, there’s just too much crap that is sapping my attention at all times.
I’m so out of touch with my subconscious right now it’s scary.
Which I guess is why, after months of wheel-spinning and a general unhappiness with my ability to produce, I’ve decided to step back into free-flow writing. The deuce experiment, which basically defines this site, is something that I had long since abandoned in the name of pragmatism.
But maybe this was a big mistake.
When I look back on things now, I can see that I enjoyed one of the most fruitful creative periods of my life between late September through early December of 2006. Although I’m not looking at the dates while I write this (because that’s kind of against “the rules”), I think the last post I made here fell sometime around the 11th of November. Perhaps there’s a carryover when you do exercises like thisâ€”your mind is lubed up for a while and works great, but that grace period doesn’t last forever.
And I’m here to tell you that it definitely didn’t.
By late December, my life was so full of distractions and just general crap that I felt as though anything that detracted from my core focus was simply extraneous and should probably be cut out.
The real irony here is that by ignoring these “outliers,” I actually caused way more harm than good. I retracted into a hollow shell of production and focus, and as a result, the quality of all my work declined significantly.
In short, I lost my zen completely.
bringing zen back
By some strange twist of fate, a post that I had written on October 2, 2006, over at Pearsonified was featured on Lifehacker on Sunday afternoon. The post was entitled How to Find Your Creative Zen, and I had actually written it on the heels of developing this site and this experiment.
The ultimate coincidence here, though, lies in the fact that the Zen post was the first to be featured on the new Pearsonified design. That may not sound overly special to you, but to me, the current design of Pearsonified represents the nexus of a creative period during which I really found my identity as a designer and Webtrepreneur.
When I look back on the events of the last couple of days, it’s almost as though I needed a reminder of who I am, where I came from, and what tools I used to get here.
I’m not going to lieâ€”I need a pick-me-up at this point, and although it’s after midnight here, I am willing to give this free-flow stuff another shot in order to find that zen once more.
Maybe this really will be just what I needed.
For quite some time, I’ve been a person who believes that true answers come from within, and the only real issue is actually finding them for yourself. I suppose that I’ve fallen short in the area of practicing what I preach, but dammit if the practical side of my brain isn’t always sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
At this point, it’s clear that my greatest enemy is myself.
So I just realized that the title of this post points to lucid dreaming and its relation to zen. I suppose there is a logical tie-in between lucid dreaming, free-flow creativity, and finding oneself amidst the mess of details and distractions that make up one’s life.
Maybe my complete lack of dreams is something that I should have paid attention toâ€”like a bad cough or a severe headache.
Or maybe it’s just time for me to go to bed.
Expect much, much more of this in the future. It’s hard to convey how relieving it is to exhale these thoughtsâ€”this river of the subconsciousâ€”onto a site such as this one. All of the feelings that I had in September, October, and November are coming back as I write this…
Sometimes I felt as though I said things that were embarrassing, and maybe that’s why I stopped doing this. Other times, as I mentioned earlier, I felt like this site wasn’t “practical” and should therefore be avoided or written off as a waste.
I’m beginning to think I couldn’t have been more wrong.
With each passing day, I realize just how little everyone else’s advice and game plans matter for me. I am definitely my own man, running on my own clock, free from everyone else’s crap. At this point, I’ve proven unequivocally that I’m not worth a damn on your watch, and to be quite honest, I’m sorry about that.
Sometimes I wish things were different.
I am happy with the things I’ve been able to produce over the last year and a half, and everything that I truly appreciate has been the product of my own schedule, my own time, and my own planning. I didn’t try to fit some big, scheduled puzzle together, and I didn’t have constraints on the way in.
I started projects; I let them evolve; and some of them turned out good.
I see no reason to operate any differently in the future if my goal is to one day look back at a catalog of “good” things that I’ve produced.
Food for thought, anyway. Maybe I’ll dream tonight.