Daydreaming incubates creative discovery.  Daniel Goleman

Daydreaming is a way of making connections in our life, finding meaning and coming up with new ideas.  People value busyness and the resulting rewards of a productive life but I believe that time to just let our minds completely wander is underrated.

An article from the Guardian states: “Some researchers swear daydreaming’s ubiquitous nature means it must have a useful function in helping us to insights we would not get from being fully in the moment.  What mind-wandering seems to be best at is coming up with new solutions to old problems… so, it’s not a waste of time at all.”  Our unconscious mind is continuously working in the background while we are busy with other things.  However, without time to stare up at the clouds, many insights may never rise to the surface.

I feel like I can compare this to a day at the ski hill.   Usually the reason you are paying to be on the mountain is with the goal of experiencing some great turns.  But what about the chairlift ride?  As we are slowly pulled skyward, unable to do anything but sit there aimlessly, we see the tracks we just made in the snow, enjoy the view, chat with friends or strangers or just daydream in the fresh air.   I find in these moments I feel generally content and worry-free.  I don’t have to “do” anything.   Similar times for me are road biking, walking, doodling or even just waiting for an appointment.

A friend of mine just self-published a book of essays (Exit This Side, by Anne Farrer) of observations and musings while on her daily sea bus ride – a 12 minute boat ride that connects downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver.  Like a roll of the dice each ride is a different unexpected mix of people sitting together and waiting to get to the other side.   Anne states that she is: “no different from any other commuter sat beside her except for giving wings to her thoughts”.

Maybe we can also give wings to our unbidden thoughts by welcoming chances to allow our minds to relax and feel comfortable.  It’s not like I would want to spend my whole life on the chairlift, but I think a busy life needs to be punctuated with times of dullness.  If someone catches you staring off into space that just might mean you are making good use of your time.