THE BLOG
05/17/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Obsessions: When The Mind Has A Mind of Its Own

Let me start out by acknowledging I've never been so clear how much my mind has a mind of its own until I started blogging about the Six Word Memoir Project a couple of weeks ago.

Apparently, I'm not alone on this one. Some readers, like me, "blessed" with, let's just call it a "tendency towards compulsion," went off to the races with this one. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say our minds went off to the races.

My mind just kept going round and round the track, coming up with new topics for six word explorations. You'll be happy to know, I pulled myself back from the brink cause I was ready to stay on this track for weeks. I thought about us doing our six word epitaphs: "What six words would you want written on your tombstone?"

I spent days thinking about that one. It was more fun to think of possibilities than it was to settle on one for posterity. Who knows what brilliant ones I have yet to think of? Somehow "She kicked ass and took names" doesn't quite speak to how I'd like to be remembered; yet that's what my mind kept dishing up. I think I'll keep the stone unetched for just awhile longer. Surely something more inspiring is bound to come up.

I thought of us doing our six-word take on healthcare, and then politics, which led to: "Six words of advice to President Obama." If you could deliver six words of advice to our president, what would you say? (Feel free to weigh in on that one if you feel so inspired!)

Throw in six word prayers, six words on parenthood, heartbreak, pet peeves and it becomes clear, this could go on forever. The possibilities are endless.

Now I understand why Larry Smith, the creator of the Six Word Memoir Project started a magazine devoted to the subject and has compiled several best selling collections of people's contributions. It's not surprising that Smith's own six word memoir is: "Now I obsessively count the words."

This reader who commented on The Personality Project sums it up perfectly:

Since I first read about six-word memoirs several days ago, I have been obsessed with coming up with new ones. I even woke up in the middle of the night thinking of old adages everyone knows that fit this format; e.g., "Too many cooks spoil the broth," To the victor go the spoils," "A stitch in time saves nine," "Living well is the best revenge." I've already posted some of my original ones and am having trouble turning my brain off! I think this is just such a fun concept, but it may drive me crazy!

True confessions: this is not the only loop I find my mind obsessively taking around the track. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I'm actually fascinated by this phenomenon, but then I suppose part of being obsessed is the fact that we're endlessly fascinated with the workings of our mind.

Lately, I've begun to write music and poetry. I wake up in the middle of the night with a song or a few lines of a poem. The words won't leave me alone until I write them down. My mind keeps saying I'm neither a musician nor a poet, but some part of me must think otherwise, so I'm following orders and taking dictation. What do I know? I could be birthing a whole new career or I could be tapped into a new creative channel, meant to inspire and empower myself alone. But in the middle of the night?

Perhaps my muse is also compulsive, or maybe the middle of the night is the best time to have my undivided attention. Here's what I sense though: this material is not coming from my mind. My mind, if anything, sneers at the music I'm writing. It has commentary:

"Are you serious? You call this stuff music? So childlike! A five-year-old could do better. You're not actually planning to do anything with this, are you? You'll embarrass yourself. You'll look and sound like a fool."

And then I remember the bumper sticker I saw on a car recently, which read: Don't believe everything you think, and I tell my mind to go take a hike, take the afternoon off, and leave me and my muse alone. Clearly, I need to spend more time in meditation where I can usually check my mind at the door.

If you don't believe your mind has a mind of its own, try this experiment:

Absolutely do not think of a pink elephant wearing red tennis shoes, drinking a margarita, sitting in the middle of your living room!

How'd you do? Thought so, I rest my case.

My mind may have a mind of its own, but as my dear friend says, sometimes, it can be a "bad neighborhood " best not to be visited alone. Despite my mind's warnings not to share my music and poetry, I'm going to do exactly that for my final project in a class I'm taking. By the time you read this, I will have launched my new "music career" by performing this song in front of 50 people.

Am I nervous? Well, my mind still doesn't think I'll actually do it. It thinks I'll chicken out at the last minute and do what I'd originally planned for my final project before the music muse showed up. My original idea, (Plan A) has now become Plan B. Plan A was adequate and certainly creative, but it was also safer. But here's the deal: I'm declaring here to you that I'm listening to my heart and not my mind and I'll be performing the music.

There! We'll see whose mind has a mind of its own.

How about you? Does your mind sometimes feel like the inmates have taken over the asylum? What obsessions are using your mind these days? Any final thoughts on the six word subjects suggested? Epitaphs, prayers or advice to President Obama? Speak now or forever hold your peace on this subject, cause for all our sanity's sake, we're moving on.

Please share your thoughts, obsessions and commentary in the space below and come visit my personal blog and website at Rx For The Soul. You can send personal email to me at judith[at]judithrich[dot]com.

Happy almost Springtime, and blessings on the path.