Writing, rituals, prayer beads, and ‘fidget cubes.’
Otherwise known as ritual distractions.
I know it’s been a while, but isn’t it always?
I cannot say that I haven’t been writing – because I have – but as usual, I haven’t been posting as often as I’d intend.
There’s something about the ritual of sitting in this chair and writing that works for me, and yet, posting rarely seems part of that process. I have been thinking a lot about processes and rituals as I am currently overthinking..er, writing…a small collection of rituals.
Perhaps it is more of a devotional, as much of what I’ve written leans more towards personal devotional rituals for the solitary practitioner.
At any rate, it is as it has always been…though I have been writing, I have not been posting in this blog.
It occurred to me that I have been dragging my feet lately, as I resolved in the new year to focus more upon not just writing but organizing my devotional practice into something much more coherent than it has been. Long have I been getting the nudge to consolidate the jumble of notebooks and computer files into a consistent organized whole.
I know that my life could benefit from a more structured approach…and yet, the more I focus upon the task of collection and consolidation, the more scatterbrained I feel. I feel like a student all over again, hunched over my desk, busily compiling five years’ worth of devotional writing from the stack of notebooks, the relevant pages clinched by paper clips with worn covers peppered with Post-It notes.
In an attempt to help, my son suggested that I try using a ‘fidget cube’ – a desk ‘toy’ designed to help one focus – as he claims that being allowed to use one in class has improved his ability to focus while writing.
So, I held the fidget cube in my left hand while I transcribed my notes on Anglo-Saxon runes and a Beltane bonfire ritual into my laptop.
Later that evening, when I was sitting in front of my altar, attempting to meditate, my mind kept wandering toward other things.
Distracted by thoughts of runes, bonfires and masks, I struggled to push those thoughts and attendant vivid imagery aside.
I opened my eyes, and my gaze settled upon the mala beads that lay atop the cigar box in the center of my altar.
Recalling how this mala had helped me focus in the past, I reached for them, closed my eyes, and settled into the words of the prayer that I had created for them. While the prayer I created for them is simple and almost repetitive in its rhythm – as that is exactly what I need when I have difficulty focusing – I have said this prayer so regularly… that it suddenly became clear that something wasn’t working.
My breathing felt off, and my thoughts kept trailing off in strange ways so much so that I kept losing track of the words.
Disturbed, I opened my eyes, and looked down at the beads in my right hand…as if the beads were the problem.
Funny that…because I know better.
But it definitely occurred to me that I needed to do something else to focus.
I thought about that fidget cube on my desk in the other room.
And it got me to thinking of the similarities between this mala and the idea of fidget cubes as the concept is perhaps the same:
It seems to have always been true of me that in order to force my mind to be still, I have to be doing something.
I have to be moving in some way, however small or slight.
And so I reached for the fidget cube.
It has six sides – each side requiring a different movements of the fingers: pressing a button, flicking a switch, rolling the thumb over a ball bearing, or spinning a small dial that makes a satisfying clicking sound…
(Yes, that one….)
Clickity. Clickity. Click.
And so I settled into that.
Odd…but it *worked*
So here’s to a different technology, I guess.
Though now that I think about it…it did sound a lot like typing.