Living comes with all manner of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows, challenges to face and overcome.
Winston Churchill had more than his share of all of those. In May 1940, after Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway, he was appointed Britain’s Prime Minister. He’d not held public office for ten years after 40 years of service in various capacities, including fighting on the front lines in WWI.
Churchill considered his time away from politics just another qualification for the challenges that faced him.
“Every prophet has to come from civilization, but every prophet has to go into the wilderness. He must have a strong impression of a complex society and all that it has to give, and then he must serve periods of isolation and meditation. This is the process by which psychic dynamite is made.”Winston Churchill
The prophet he was referring to was Moses, but clearly Churchill realized that his own time in isolation and meditation had prepared him well to lead his country during WWII.
I’m no Churchill. But I understand what he meant by taking time for oneself to reflect and contemplate on lessons learned, making psychic dynamite. Especially in the wilderness.
I imagine Churchill did his meditating in his study, surrounded by books, writing, a cigar between his teeth except when he took a sip of whiskey. Or while painting.
Me? I meditate while running or walking in the forest with my dogs most mornings. My wilderness. As we start out, I let my mind wander to whatever topic screams for attention. If something or someone has recently bothered me, that issue comes to the forefront right away. Within a mile or two, I’ve considered it, and either dismissed it as something I can’t control or figured out a plan to address it if I can. That done, the rest of the outing is free to let my mind wander and be creative, coming up with topics and characters to write about, article ideas or new blog posts (this one being an example). Sometimes I simply put two and two together in a new way I hadn’t thought of before, a new twist on something otherwise ordinary. It’s fruitful and fun.
It’s a creative process that rarely if ever happens at home, sitting parked in front of my computer.
I’ve reached an age – 62 – where I’ve got some experiences to call up and reflect upon. Lessons learned I can share, sparing others a steep learning curve.
I’m going to rely on this movement-in-nature form of meditation as I participate in NaNoWriMo this month, writing my ass off when I am parked in front of the computer.
I’m in good company. Novelist Haruki Murakami, in his book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, wrote “Most of what I know about writing fiction I learned by running every day.”
There’s plenty of science that says running promotes brain health and creativity. I know from personal experience that’s true.
I’m banking on it.
I want to make some of my own psychic dynamite.
Feature photo: snow-covered Seven Devils Mountains in the distance, November 1, 2019.