Meditation at the Lathe

Good morning, my friends. Last week – Denver. Yesterday – Sioux Falls. Next week – Butte. The Gulp List did not get done yesterday, kicking it over to today combining it with regularly scheduled Friday commitments. What about you? With everything you have going on, I cannot urge you strongly enough to STOP for a few minutes.

STOP coming from me is laughable, but hear me out. On Monday I found myself prepping specimens in the lab-shop: selecting a length of core, cutting it to size with a band saw, and machining the sample with a lathe to remove the damaged exterior and ensure the top and sides are square to one another.

Using the lathe is not complicated but it is dangerous…as in lose a finger dangerous. For two and a half hours that afternoon I pared down the rough exterior of salt samples exposing the core. I did not anticipate the same effect on my frenetic brain. I left work feeling rested and happy.

Lathes have so many moving parts, use so much force and are so foreign to me that I have to concentrate on only and exactly what is taking place. Then the next step. That is it. No sample prepping while mentally itemizing a To Do list, composing prose, re-working an unsolved problem, or rehearsing an important conversation.

Tend only to the sample on the lathe. No thinking five steps ahead.

Look up meditation and volumes of websites containing history-of, how-to, and benefits-of present themselves. I will not repeat this information. What I will relate from practical experience is this:

Years ago I discarded my hobbies (knitting, target practicing, attending the symphony) because they were too expensive, too time consuming, or did not result in productive or monetary ends. I devalued the value of brain rest. Brains need a variety of activity: solving problems, taking in and processing new information, creative outpouring, sleep, and awake but quiet brain time.

My friends, I know you are busy. The demands are real: work projects, school assignments, helping loved ones, volunteer work, side projects, church groups, pets needing attention, the list goes on. We are on sensory overload.

Some have it figured out:

  1. Rocket Scientist loves to can vegetables and fruit
  2. Confectioner Cousin off-roads through Montana’s mountains in her 4-wheel-drive jeep
  3. Attorney/businessman Uncle works on an old pickup

How do you rest your brain?



1 Comment

  1. Music used to be my break for my brain, but since I haven’t joined the band here I’ve been sort of lost as far as how to recuperate from school. My daily yoga (which sadly hasn’t been happening daily in the last few weeks) seems to fill the gap, and a few months ago I actually started spending five to ten minutes meditating just before bed, which really seemed to help me focus and get going the next morning. Moral of the story: I’ve become a huge fan of meditation, whether it’s reached through a conscious period of stillness and reflection or via physical or methodical activity.


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