I got the bus home from the city after meeting a friend for a drink. The bus was packed, and it was dusk, the sun setting on a beautiful day. All you could see what the glow of a phone screen in front of each person. Everybody texting or plugged into their i-pod. I was checking my facebook updates. You could almost hear the crackle in the air with all the data that was downloading into our bus.
Which got me to thinking about all the bus journeys I used to take before the internet and mobile phones were invented. It’s not that long ago…but it got me to wondering …what the hell did I do with my down time when I was travelling? What did we all do? Wasn’t I bored? How did we fill it without our phones?
Well, you know, what I used to do was what is fast becoming a seriously endangered activity which is soon to be put on the ‘extinct’ list. I daydreamed. Yes, I looked out of the window and let my mind wander. And wander. I dreamed and I imagined as I watched the world go by. How dull is that, right? What a waste of time when I could be connecting with the world. Well…yes and no. When I think about it some of my best ideas and flashes of inspiration were reached in that daydream state as my mind wandered to possibilities and what could be. I distinctly remember that the decision to quit my high paying senior job after 9 years on the corporate ladder in London and buy a rucksack and go travelling round the world was reached in a flash of knowing as I watched the Devon countryside whistle past on the train back to Waterloo. It was one of the most right and best decisions I ever made. It came from a daydream and it changed my life for the better.
And that’s the thing I think. Daydreaming is an activity. It’s a thing in it’s own right. Its can be where our best ideas and our true desires have the space and room to swim to the surface and make themselves known. Daydreaming is the productive earth from which inspiration can sprout.
Daydreaming is about getting information OUT from the depth of us…giving it the space and time to work it’s way to the surface. It can’t be forced. If we are constantly putting information IN with cramming every spare minute with incoming messages (text/call/voicemail/facebook/internet) then we don’t give our subconscious the time it needs to push it’s subtle but powerful messages OUT. That part of us that can guide us to our best lives and best choices gets literally no airtime. We choke it in the in-flow of information.
So, is daydreaming ‘wasted time’…not really. It’s the space our subconscious needs to breathe. It’s where our best ideas come from. ‘Wasted Time’ for me is that frantic busyness on things that are really not that important (some choice meetings and reports I had to write in my corporate days spring to mind!). Time that is wasted is wasted on things that do not really bring me nearer to what my true life’s purpose is.
That bus ride was a good reminder for me not to confuse activity with importance. To confuse the weight of someone’s message I am taking in to be more valid than the messages from my own inner self. There is no one more important for me to listen to than myself.
Making time to daydream for me means leaving the i-pod at home occasionally when I go for a walk. To put the book down for half an hour on the plane. To actively choose to leave some room for inspiration to sprout.
Give yourself permission to waste some time this week. It can be one of your most valuable high impact activities.