Sculpture by Ron Mueck – Drift, 2009
I’ve realised that sometimes you can effectively do two things at once and succeed at both.
Research is increasingly revealing that multi-tasking isn’t necessarily the way to go, but here’s something that can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and apologies to the birds – who would ever think to do such a thing? Not us grasshoppers.
The two things allow you to calm down, meditate on specific things, and create memoir if you choose to do so.
First, the calmness. This works well in any situation, but perhaps best when you’re about to go to sleep and you need that extra push into calmness and a stress-free drift off to sleep. But it works equally well during daylight hours, or when you need to calm down. Perhaps you’re delayed in traffic, or sitting in a meeting with a particularly frustrating, long-winded bugger.
The aim is to work through the alphabet by first coming up with 3 fruits and/or vegetables, followed by three animals, all of whose names begin with the letter A.
An example: 3 x A fruits/vegies: Avocado, Apple, Apricot. 3 x A Animals: Aardvark, Anaconda, Antelope.
Then go on to the letter B, and so on. Don’t worry if you can’t come up with the three – some letters are harder than others – just move on to the next letter. It isn’t meant to be stressful, but fun and a way of focussing in order to calm your thoughts and remove your thinking to a mindful zone away from the stressed-out area.
Try it, it works.
So, where does the memoir come in? Well, there are reasons why we choose, or come up with certain words. Often, they have connections with other things in our lives – some of these may be tenuous, but others will provoke strong feelings and/or memories. These are the words that can help you to create memoir.
An example: Apricot. When I was a child, one of my mother’s specialties was apricot tart. I remember sitting in the kitchen and watching her stew the apricots and roll out the pastry on a floured wooden chopping board, and then put it all together and into the wood stove. Her pastry was the melt-in-your-mouth variety and the apricots were tangy and not quite tamed by the sugar Mum would add to the mix. If we were very lucky, we’d get whipped cream as a topping for the tart, sweet and thick and rich as Croesus.
The point isn’t to bore you with details of the best apricot tarts ever made in the history of tarts, but to encourage you to find your own tarts, so to speak, within the alphabet meditation. These words always lead to others, and other images, and events and places for you to consider as you create your legacy.
Try it today. Keep a record of your fruits and vegies and animals. See how many of them provoke memories and connections. You might be happily surprised. And you’ll certainly be calmer.
Alphabet people, grasshoppers, they’re the best people in the world (with thanks to Jerry Seinfeld for the paraphrase).
This post brought to you by an alpha mail box