Monday, February 13, 2012

On driftin' and daydreams...

"What a day for a daydream."
- The Lovin' Spoonful

Daydream believer.
Sometimes, when paddling, I will just stop, for no apparent reason at all, and drift...and daydream.

That's part of the charm of sea kayaking and trail running. Agendas and "to do" lists are not invited - admittedly, they frequently insist on coming along for the ride. Ideally though, time on the water or on the trail is a time to simply "be", a time to allow the mind and the imagination an opportunity to be free, without restriction or goal orientation. I think that most of us would probably admit that waaaay too much of our waking (and sleeping?) time is spent strategizing and problem solving, re-thinking and second-guessing. Perhaps it's the rolling waters or the pristine, clear and fresh Pacific air that frees the mind to imagine, and "time travel". Or perhaps it's something much more mundane such as tired muscles suggesting a small break that will bring renewed strength and endurance. Whatever, sometimes I like to drift...and allow the mind to freewheel - to go wherever it wants to go.

Some psychologists define daydreams as "task-unrelated images and thoughts". "A types" out there might say that these precious moments are a waste of time, potentially productive energy (and time) badly in need of a "harness"! (IMHO, those who think this way and appear to be content to live from one "fight-or-flight" response to the next need to seriously relax! Life's short.) My sense is that such activity is beneficial to the mind and to the spirit. That being the case, I'm sure the body undoubtedly benefits in some way as well. I cannot imagine daydreaming to be a stressful, blood pressure-raising, cortisol-releasing activity.

What a place for a daydream.
On this afternoon, drifting on the peacefully rolling Gulf Island waters, my mind explored a memory of a deserted croft and stone house that we came upon in the Scottish Highlands last summer. The re-awakened image brought a smile to my face, and a warm feeling to my heart. I don't know why. Perhaps it was the memory of the remote beauty of this lonely place. I love such places. Increasingly, I yearn for such solitude. Perhaps it was the exercise of trying to visualize, in my mind's eye, the hearty souls who tended their sheep and scratched out a living from the ancient landscape - and treasured their chosen lifestyle and were satisfied with their brave accomplishments. Why is it that so many of us, who have so much, seem so often to be so dissatisfied - and want for so much more? I could only feel admiration for their efforts and chosen lifestyle.

For a few moments, I experienced "time travel", and emerged from it refreshed and more "grounded"...and with a sense of connection to a time and "space" that, once-upon-a-time, was a someone else's present moment. Was this daydream a "productive" moment, in the usual sense of the word? Probably not. It was, however, immensely satisfying. Does daydreaming banish our (dis)stress? Of course it does. At the very least, it leaves less room for it. That's good enough for me.

Time well wasted? No, time well spent. And much recommended.



  1. And I thought I might be the only one who admitted to being "daydream believer"! Ya, cool. Cheers. Bf JJ

  2. I think our imaginations are there to both set us free and "ground" us. Works for me too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Duncan.

  3. Bf JJ and Benjamin, been away for a few days but thanks so much for your comments, always appreciated, believe me. Affirming to know someone reads this stuff. :) I'm glad the words spoke to you. Duncan.