Tag Archives: memoir mind

How Snail’s Pace Wins The Race – The Mindful Zone of the Memoir Mind



Are you the kind of person who travels best at a particular speed as you move through your days?  I know I am.  I think most of us are – whether or not we recognise it as such, our particular speed is there.

There may be a little wriggle room either side – slightly faster, slightly slower, depending on the time, circumstances, degree of perceived urgency – but you find that, at a certain rhythm, at a certain pace, you hit your straps, and all is well.  The sun, moon and stars smile upon you and accidents are rare.

Like the snail in the picture, you travel the way you’re built to travel, physically and mentally.

Let’s call it the Mindful Zone,  because you’re a Gershwin baby: you’ve got rhythm, you’ve got music, you’ve got your house in fine order.

It’s a little like the concept of flow, described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.  But rather than a state of rapture, or the sort of focus attributed to the artist Michelangelo, an extreme example of flow – days of total focus on, and absorption in his art to the exclusion of sleep, food and breaks – I’m interested in the everyday rhythms and speeds of our daily lives – a couple of the elements that contribute to flow.

Your Mindful Zone may equate to a waltz in its timing, a two-step, a tango, a polka, or a salsa, a foxtrot or a cakewalk.  It doesn’t matter which, as long as it gets you through the dance card that makes up your day.

Outside your Mindful Zone, however, too far above or beneath your optimum rhythm and speed, beyond the wriggle room, bad things tend to happen:

  • You slice your finger cutting the vegies too fast with a new knife
  • You jump the gutter backing out of the driveway in a hurry, and you’ve already projected yourself to your destination
  • You forget to buy stamps at the post office because you were running late for the termite inspection
  • You flip the omelette onto the hotplate instead of the dinner plate because it’s way past dinner time and the omelette was supposed to be the easy option
  • Or you flip the omelette onto the hotplate because you contemplate the required wrist flick and pan turn for far too long; you visualise the MasterChef doing it the other night in slo-mo and you overthink it
  • You put the milk in the pantry and the crackers in the freezer because you’re distracted, by something, anything.
  • You think you should keep pace with your partner, offspring, sibling, parent, anyone else who isn’t you.

These are symptoms of the Mindless Zone and it’s a scary place.

At its worst, the Mindless Zone can be tragic, or fatal: after jumping the gutter and bottoming out, that car’s driver my go on to encounter only a bingle, or something far less savoury and entirely life-changing.

The Mindless Zone is like the Twilight Zone, except that you’re here, now – and that’s the answerHere and Now. The Mindful Zone.

You instinctively know your own pace – your best rhythm and speed, your unique time signature: waltz, samba, cossack kicks, do-si-do.  Feel for it, listen to it.  Be here, now.

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.  Was the fox jumping within its Mindful Zone?  Were the dogs simply enjoying their Mindful rather than Lazy Zone?  Only they can tell.  Only you can tell when you’ve discovered this truth and become a Gershwin baby in the Mindful Zone of the *Memoir Mind.

So hasten slowly like the snail and find the time signature that is your Mindful Zone.

*Memoir Mind – a state of mind in which you are calmly aware, from moment to moment, of your life and thoughts.  In this state of mind, you are able to see things from a different perspective.  You may be in a position to begin decluttering, discovering some important truths, and creating your legacy.

Memoir mind: a state of calm excitement.

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Have You Saved Your Life Today? Confronting Fear, One Bug At A Time



Have you saved your life today?  I only ask because I was reminded this morning that this is something I think we must try to do, actively, every day.  Saving your life is part, after all, of creating your legacy and developing your memoir mind*.  But back to the question and the event that prompted it.

I came in from my walk – delayed due to rain – and caught sight of a small flying creature near the front door.  The creatur was inside the house, banging against a big clear glass window pane.

Something you should know about me – I’m terrified of small – or large, for that matter – flying creatures – things with wings and/or feathers.  Sure, I’ve trained myself, with the unrelenting support of my partner, to go near birds without encountering palpitations – not as many as I used to anyway.  I can even feed magpies by hand, but I always have an escape route, and I always keep my sunglasses on.  Something to do with those sharp beaks and their proximity to what I interpret – should I happen to morph into a magpie momentarily – as the delicious, gooey, protein-rich orbs I call my eyes.

But the little flying creatures – bugs galore (excluding lady bugs, which are entirely adorable – it’s my phobia, I can be irrational), cockroaches, wasps, bees, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, praying mantises, or manti – you get the picture – the little ones are a different kettle of, well, flying fish.  They’re scratchy, jumpy, bitey, fluttery, feathery.  They aren’t furry and snuggly, they aren’t cuddly and brushable.  They aren’t my cat.

However.  While I may not like these insects, and birds, I wish them no harm.  In fact, I wish them long and happily productive lives.  For all we know, they may be all that stands between us and annihilation, given the woozy state of the world.

The thing is, though, they aren’t always very canny about their surroundings, especially if those surroundings are artificial, from their point of view.  This little creature banging on the window pane, for instance, had no idea how to get out of its fix.  It looked something like a dragonfly, or it could have been a hornet.

Either way – clueless.

It could see the light outside and its plan was to bang against the glass until it – the glass – saw the light, too, and let it through via some sub-atomic miracle.

I walked past and tried to ignore it.  It’ll find its way out, I told myself, and reactively grabbed my cuddlesome cat.  She was feeling scratchy, so I put her down (in the nicest possible way, not the veterinary way) and faced the truth.  I was alone in the house for the time being; my cat can’t trap small flying creatures – not without killing them – and she can’t open doors and release them into the wild – yet.  I’m hopeful.

There was only one choice.

It took a while, and I was terrified, but eventually I managed to trap the little flying creature in a plastic container, slapped a sheet of paper over the top and took it out to the garden and freedom.  It disappeared without a trace.

My point?  It felt good to save that little thing flapping and crashing against the glass window, seeing the world waiting for it out there, all light and bright and airy, inviting it to come out and play, and live.

It felt good to challenge fear.  It made me wonder about the glass panes that you and I may not be canny enough to see, obstacles that prevent us from saving our own lives.  Do we keep doing the same old things, feeding the same old habits, following the same routines, honouring the traditions we’ve created or continued just for the mindless sake of it?  Are they still the right ones for us?  Or are we fearful of challenging and changing?

Here’s the thing: I challenged a fear and I came to no harm.  No palpitations, no bites, scratches, or feathery fluffing.  I’ve got a way to go to actually touch my feathery/wingy mates, and there was buzzing and perhaps a little too much proximity.  But the very least I can do is try.

So, try today to save your life.

Do something differently.  Don’t do something that you usually believe you must do.  Then watch as the world turns and doesn’t explode in your face.  Break a habit before it breaks you.  Change a routine before you’re rooted (to the spot).

Adopt the little flying creature inside your head, your heart, your soul, and put it in its place: out in the world of light and air and freedom.

NOTE:  *Memoir Mind – a state of mind in which you are calmly aware, from moment to moment, of your life and thoughts.  In this state of mind, you are able to see things from a different perspective.  You may be in a position to begin decluttering, discovering some important truths, and creating your legacy.

Memoir mind: a state of calm excitement.