I'm taking my own FaceBook advice and rereading an old favorite before moving on to a new series. Today's selection is Dead Until Dark, the first in the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, on which the HBO True Blood series is based. I love this book. It is the book that started my fascination and love of all things vampire and shapeshifter and fae and witch. Charlaine Harris began her writing career with mysteries, so the book has a murder mystery as the central plot line, which helped ease me into the genre. Not that I needed much easing, mind you. In any case, in rereading Dead Until Dark, I was struck by a central tenet of the plot, the fact that the main character, Sookie Stackhouse, a barmaid in northern Louisiana, also happens to be telepathic. As in she can read people's thoughts as they are thinking them. And I began to wonder, what are people's minds full of? Are they in fact mindful? Or are thoughts leaking out their ears, leaving them empty-headed? What about my own mind?
In the book, and then later in the series, Sookie makes a point of pointing out that most individuals' everyday, random thoughts are fairly pedestrian. Shopping lists, worry about finances, jobs, children, etc. And then there is the preoccupation with sex, sex, and more sex. I'm guessing she was talking more about the males of our species, but given the popularity of my favorite genre, not to mention your garden-variety romance novels, which is a billion-dollar business in this country, there must be quite a few women who are also filling their minds with lascivious contemplation. These days we all have sex on the brain, with the likes of the 50 Shades of Grey movie breaking box office records, and female pop stars practically fornicating on stage for the benefit of their audiences.
So it seems that our everyday thoughts aren't really of the lofty variety. And I'm as guilty as the next person, preoccupied as I am with my interminable to do lists and keeping the various aspects of my roles as wife, mother, friend, employer, employee, etc. straight and in their various compartments. And this is of course not to mention my plans for the future and my reminiscences of the past.
It would appear that my mind, like most, is quite full, even though I doubt anyone reading it would find anything of overwhelming interest or import going on between my ears. But am I mindful, in the expansive and philosophical sense of that concept? In a word, no, I'm not. Although I'd like to be, and I strive to achieve little moments or even minutes of mindfulness in my daily life. I meditate. I practice yoga. I journal. In short, I make a conscious effort to take my brain off autopilot and bring it back to the present moment to appreciate the here and now and contemplate something more profound than my strategies for packing all my necessary errands into my workday while also stretching time to accommodate a couple of seconds of relaxation and vegetation.
Phew, just thinking of all the energy it takes to negotiate my day seems almost overwhelming. Not to mention boring for anyone bothering to climb into my skull and take a walk through the twisted pathways of my thought processes. As I think about it, I wonder at the mediocrity of that with which I choose to occupy my headspace. I'm thankful for these blog posts, which take me out of the banality of my daily musings and focus my attention on something bigger than myself and my petty pondering for at least a little while.
Apparently, I would not be much of a candidate for Sookie to tune into if she were looking for captivating entertainment, using her little gift, or disability, as she considers it. On the other hand, all of you reading my blogs get a bit of a glimpse into my grey matter, albeit while I'm actually trying to be engaging and entertaining. So, it occurs to me that through reading my blog, you get to approximate Sookie's experience. What do you think? Have I interrupted your own mundane thoughts and interjected a bit of true mindfulness, in the form of filling your mind with something worthwhile? I can only hope so. And I would certainly love to know, if you'd care to share your thoughts with me.