Posted by: Debra Alexander / wordmavenmusic | March 3, 2012

Mind Like Water

Mind Like Water

One morning this past week, I woke up with a start, and desperately needing a drink of water, reached for the glass beside my bed. I put the glass on the floor and prepared to sit upright, and somehow my iPhone, which was on the bedside table, dove headfirst into the full glass. Unbelievable. If I had TRIED to land it, like a two-point shot from the foul line, I never could have done it! I then, in a panic, did everything you’re not supposed to do, like using a hairdryer on it and trying to resuscitate it multiple times.

If I hadn’t been fighting this horrendous cold, that for the past two weeks has left me hearing out of one ear, feeling like I’ve been bulldozed, operating with half a brain, going through boxes of Kleenex, and coughing myself awake—I mightn’t have so desperately needed that drink, and I mightn’t have drowned my iPhone.

Things are connected.

The more fragmented my day to day life gets, the more it seems the universe is trying to tell me something. During Weeks 5 and 6 of the Canadian Songwriters Social Media Challenge, my MacBook was repeatedly freezing, and work was relegated to brief spurts of time between crashes, force-quits and restarts. The stress of trying to do too many things at once is spilling over into other areas, and I believe these problems with my computer and my iPhone and my health are all related.

Quantum physicist/philosopher David Bohm states in his excellent book, Wholeness and the Implicate Order,  that “fragmentation is now very wide-spread, not only throughout society, but also in each individual; and this is leading to a kind of general confusion of the mind, which creates an endless series of problems and interferes with our clarity of perception so seriously as to prevent us from being able to solve most of them…(yet) the notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion…”

David Allen talks about “mind like water” in his book, Getting Things Done. “In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: ‘mind like water.’ Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact.”

We need to be able to make appropriate responses as things come up in day to day life, and operate with a sense of confident control, rather than be in reaction mode.

This week I was supposed to write a newsletter, as outlined in Ariel Hyatt’s Music Success In 9 Weeks. That is a multi-step project for me that involves:

1. envisioning what my wildest success would be as a result from sending out a newsletter

2. choosing a newsletter provider

3. importing my contact list

4. making format design choices

5. assembling and generating the content

6. implementing the content in the format

7. deciding on and integrating a call to action

8. ensuring that I have a system to capture newsletter sign-ups

9. actually executing the mail out

There are probably some steps in there I missed, because I haven’t even gotten to item one.

Because I got some good reactions from the panel at the recent Songwriters Association of Canada Date With A Demo event, I chose to follow-up with the panelists and my co-writers, and outline next action steps. This created a cascading and entirely new flood of work. I chose to work on that, because in the long run, the end goal holds more potential; is more in line with my vision. My attention and the imminent time frame seemed to be in alignment.

As I practice de-fragging my life, I hope to be more confident about the choices I make regarding what to focus on when.


And now I must turn to that newsletter project.

P.S. If you’re wondering what became of my iPhone, people recommended laying it in a bowl of rice for a couple days to draw out the water. It actually revived! But yesterday I accidentally dropped it flat on its face. Once again, it miraculously came back to life after I charged it for a few hours. Alas, it seems to be tired of holding its charge though. What do you think that means?

P.P.S. Luckily, it was my old 3G; a back-up phone I was using as an iPod.


  1. Debra, when I read your work it all makes sense to me. You have brought me clarity – something I desperately need. I am always so impressed that you can break it all down and build it back up again. Thank you, k

    • Kathryn, I’m so glad. We all desperately need clarity, I think. If we believe we’ll get it, we’ll get it (?)

  2. Hey Debra,
    Thanks for the great post. I’ve drowned my phone a couple of times but not lately fortunately! I have been at odds with this newsletter process now for months- long before this challenge- so is really great to know you and most everyone has found this process a bit of an uphill too. Look forward to hearing what one you ended up with.

  3. Hear hear! So true!!! The past few years I’ve been feeling like I’m getting stupider and stupider. I feel increasingly fragmented and I don’t trust my mind. I’m unclear as to what conversations I’ve had in real life or online and with whom or whether they were conversations I INTENDED to have but didn’t execute yet! And I’m ashamed to admit to the daily faux pases I commit such as putting beer on my cocoa puffs! I think it’s time for a mental break!

    PS Did you leave your iPhone in the water long enough to go get your other iPhone to take a picture with?! ;p

    • Beer on Coco Puffs is a Faux pas?

      • Touche! I stand corrected!!! Beer on Coco Puffs is an INVENTION! ;P

  4. That’s so strange! This week my laptop had a mini melt down too. Just spent the last 24 hours learning how to back stuff up (then doing it. :)) But yeah, it’s like my computer decided I needed a little break this week from all the tweets and status updating, etc etc. Didn’t go as far as to drop my phone or anything (twice… oh no!), but your post definitely resonates with what’s going on in my world. Gonna have to check out David Bohm.

    Hope you’re feeling healthier.. and better balanced!

  5. Great post! I agree, life feels increasingly fragmented, trying to balance work, relationships, my art, and rest. I wonder how much of that is to do with the constant influx of information and distraction caused by technologies such as email/phones that keep us on-call 24-7?

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