“When your mind awakens, your life comes alive
and the creative adventure of your soul takes off.” ~ John O’Donohue
Curating a beautiful mind takes thoughtful intention. When we have done so, we set out on the creative adventures of our lives. We bolster our reserves for doing the extraordinary.
It was hour three of strolling through the 6th arrondissement in Paris’ Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, and something within me was terribly off.
I was immersed in a city I absolutely adored, surrounded by beauty in all its forms: stunning fashion; colorful fruits, vegetables, and flowers in market stalls; breathtaking architecture; artful displays in every storefront; and acres of magnificent green spaces and parks. And while I was certainly buoyed by each and every aspect of the sensory input rushing into my body, I felt a soul-based dissonance that worried me.
What could possibly be wrong…here?
I had grown accustomed to feeling out of whack back home, where my entire life was still smoldering from the flames of divorce and financial meltdown. It was understandable to not be on my game as I was still recovering from my Nuclear Winter.
But wouldn’t I have escaped the bonds of all that held me imprisoned by my crossing of the pond and putting 5,000 miles between that life and where I stood in Paris?
Even though I had done a masterful job of changing my external landscape, I had neglected mightily the work on my inner landscape. And when the two worlds met, the jarring vibration was like the experience of feeling a cacophonous piano chord cut through my flesh.
Deciding to Set Myself Free
Sitting alone in a vibrant bistro, I refused to believe I could not re-craft my experience of life, and I was determined to set myself free.
I slid my espresso cup over to the side of the little, round table and began mapping out in my journal the current state of affairs inside my mind. It was an attic of dark corners, dusty shelving packed full of things I no longer wanted or needed, and boxes upon boxes taped tightly shut with all their contents hidden away.
I took a deep breath and cut into the first box.
Box number one was just a bunch of old stuff. Nothing scary, just thought clutter that I no longer had use for. Not so bad! I could just jettison that box entirely. Heartened, I moved to the second box and opened it.
That one was a viper pit of autopilot behaviors that kept me stuck, resentful, in a blaming posture, unhealthy, and separated from what I was craving the most: a lightness of being. I rooted around and saw film clips of things I had unknowingly carried for years. I had never let that trauma fully land (let alone heal) as I was always in red-alert motion and in self-distracting mode.
As dusk fell around me, and the lights of Paris illuminated the city, I completed my attic inventory. I surveyed the room, with all of its contents now divided into two category piles: leave behind and create anew. The create anew box was small, and I tucked it under my arm, turned the light off, and said goodbye to that space forever.
Back on the street, I felt a shift begin to loosen the joints of my mood and soul. The contents inside the little box from the attic rattled around a bit as I moved, and I was careful not to jostle them too much. I peaked inside the box every now and then as I made my way to my hotel and found the interior hospitable and welcoming to scrutiny.
Understanding My True Work
The following morning, I walked along the Seine and eased myself into the majesty that is the Musée d’Orsay. After touring each floor and luxuriating in each sumptuous piece, I walked past the museum’s restaurant and nearly lost my mind.
I was transfixed.
The space was one of the most beautiful interiors I had ever seen. Towering, arched windows filled the room with natural light. Ornate, traditional French decor, light fixtures, and sculptures lifted my eyes and heart up, up, up. And then there were the surprising, fun, dining room chairs…little, contemporary works of art punctuating the room with joie de vivre.
As I stood and stared, I knew that my work was to create an interior landscape as lovely and lustrous as that room.
If I were a wizard with the ability to see straight through into the innermost sanctum of you, what do you imagine I would see?
Would I see evidence of thoughtful and intentional interior design? Or would I see something more like the old attic of my inner life?
In other words…
Is your mind like this?
Or is it more like this?
Becoming a Curator for My Mind
As I have become a more skilled curator for my mind, I no longer casually let things take up space on the shelves within me. Everything that is allowed in, is brought in with a discerning eye and careful consideration.
Now I am like a woman at an antique shop, combing aisle by aisle, for treasures. I work hard to keep only the thoughts that are uplifting and fuel me forward. I set out each day to fill my near and far periphery with beauty, as well as moments that let down the milk of joy.
Consider this: what thoughts hold you fast to a life you no longer want? What is past time to discard and create anew?
When we have curated our minds, we set out on the creative adventures of our lives. We bolster our reserves for doing the extraordinary. The outrageous. The courageous. And when we do, we give permission to others to find their resolve to do the same.