Upon Reflection: Time On The Water
When it comes to introspection and contemplation, we seem to fall into three states of mind.
First, we can find ourselves oblivious or uncaring as to who we are or where we are going. This can lead to a very unsatisfying life, a life in a semi-conscious state. A life that contributes nothing to our welfare, or the greater good of society.
Or, we can be self-aware but unfocused and dissatisfied. When we are in this state of mind we frantically rush off in random directions in hopes that we will either stumble upon some answers or, at least, create the illusion of progress. When we are in this state of mind we fill our lives with activities and distractions that seem to be geared towards preventing any form of self reflection. We fill our time with meaningless “activities” and a babble of voices chattering endlessly about meaningless things. We hope the hustle and bustle will overpower the quiet whisperings of doubt and wondering.
This state of mind reminds me of the experience you have when you speed down a dusty road, you create a huge cloud of dust and dirt as you rush down the road and you can keep the cloud from engulfing you only if you keep rushing forward. You are not going any place in particular, it is just that you have to keep speeding along lest the mess you have created overtake you.
The final category consists of those precious times when we find ourselves at peace; the times when we can take a clear look at things, and ourselves. At these times we see clearly and without prejudice.
I decided to illustrate this concept of thoughtful self-examination by using one of my old barn friends as a stand-in. I am particularly fond of old barns because they are honest and unpretentious structures. The reflection in the pond alludes to the act of self-examination, the rippled water hints at the realization that self-assessment does not always result in a perfectly accurate picture.
This title of this piece was inspired by something Jimmy Buffett once said, “Everyone needs a little time on the water”. From the context of the statement it was clear that he was referring to spending time alone with your thoughts. His preferred place to do this was on his boat in open water. He was making the point that in order to have peace of mind, in order to mature and grow as a human being, in order to sort out the challenges that occur in every life, everyone needed to find their version of “Time On The Water”.
Image and text © 2015 James Golaszewski