Warren Ellis, the comic book author, has mentioned a couple of times about making time to pay attention to your environment - taking a few moments to stop and look around you and absorbing where you are.
I've not been paying attention to that advice in the last couple of weeks. I was distracted yesterday, trying to structure my thoughts and work out the next steps on a tricky problem I was trying to solve. I was getting nowhere, trapped in my head and getting progressively more ratty, tired and frustrated at my lack of progress.
I looked up from my desk and saw this view outside my window.
I decided to stop worrying about the problem and went out for a walk instead. I focussed on the smell of the sea, the warmth of hazy spring sunshine on my face and the view of the distant hills. After twenty minutes of being outside, I felt better and more relaxed and was less worried about getting forcing my brain to resolve the problem that was bugging me. In focusing on the “now”, the present, my mind relaxed and a fully formed solution popped into my head at the end of the walk.
My subconscious had done the work for me.