Friday, 3 May 2013

Mind Games

A mind is the complex of cognitive faculties that enables consciousness, perception, thinking, learning, reasoning, and judgement—a characteristic of humans, but which also may apply to other life forms…The main questions regarding the nature of mind is its relation to the physical brain and nervous system – a question which is often framed as the Mind-body problem, which considers whether mind is somehow separate from physical existence (dualism and idealism), deriving from and reducible to physical phenomena such as neurological processes (physicalism), or whether the mind is identical with the brain or some activity of the brain…Whatever its relation to the physical body it is generally agreed that mind is that which enables a being to have subjective awareness and intentionality towards their environment, to perceive and respond to stimuli with some kind of agency, and to have consciousness, including thinking and feeling.” –(

I was watching Total Recall, the one with Kate Beckinsale and Collin Farrell, and it got me thinking about the ultimate power of our minds. We can convince ourselves to do anything. Our minds can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Any celebrity can tell you this, especially those who have been in rehab. So why is it that so many of us do not use this to our advantage? Why do we go through life without using our mind’s full potential? Why do we prefer to succumb to the dark side of chocolate instead of pursuing that six pack?

My father always said it’s all about “Mind over Matter” and that we can do anything to which we set our minds. I try to use this in my daily life but somehow, exactly that’s what gets in the way—LIFE! To be fully motivated and concentrated, centered, we need to have a clear mind, right? But how does that work when the whole world constantly wants something from you—when that one forgotten black sock puts a dent in your day by ruining all the whites?

Teachers, boyfriends/girlfriends, bosses, publishers, agents, children, spouses, friends, even your gym instructor…everyone wants (and deserves) a piece of your time and mind. So how can you concentrate on something for more than 10 minutes at a time?

Please don’t go around telling people that I’m blaming my lack of self-discipline on my peers! As I mentioned earlier it is just too simple to fall into laziness and take the flatter route. However, why do people feel much more motivated in rehab or at a spa getaway? Life is stressful, especially in this day and age, and it is important to remember that there will always be something or someone that distracts you from your goals.

As a working mum, the only thing that keeps me sane is my Mama Timer. It’s a little organizer that has been perfected to meet the needs of over-achieving mothers everywhere. If someone suddenly felt the urge to ruin me, they’d just have to “accidently” misplace it and you’d find me blubbering in a corner. There still isn’t enough hours in a day to stay as focused as I’d like to be, but it helps to be organized.

In my novels, I take this mind game very seriously. I think to make characters real you need to give them real problems as well as real pleasures in life. In The Scarlet Omen and its sequels, my protagonist Anjeli Xavier is constantly being stretched in all directions—something any teenager would be able to relate to as well as dread. She has to save a whole civilisation while juggling her over-protective family, school, a best friend and a boyfriend that seems to be in trouble all the time. By the end of the trilogy, I’m hoping that she figures out the secret to dealing with the pressures of life without having a nervous breakdown and…I sure hope she lets me in on it.