I have been in a twilight zone this week. The twilight zone of watching someone you love being the subject of an operation, the preparation, the process, the aftermath, the lying there, the not knowing the outcome, the twilight of hospitals and waiting.

We have been there far too much these past years and know the drill unfortunately. All you can do sometimes is move things around, find ice, meet some small need, talk quietly. So much you can’t do, such a sense of helplessness.

For these times and other times of waiting, holding, healing, times when you are frozen a little and caught in that moment to moment dealing with something – my secret weapon is sudoku.

Gwen Bell talks of mindfulness in her wonderful Mindfulist blog. In contrast, sudoku at this time is a kind of mindlessness, almost meditative,  a sheer focus of attention on nine numbers that helps you manage much and gives you a sense of peace. It is akin to the escapism of watching sport, the engagement with something that enables you to rest the difficult thoughts for a moment. You still your mind, counting numbers one to nine. It is highly recommended. It’s well known to be highly addictive. I’ve been there and it can eat a lot of your time, but in its rightful place, sudoku is for me a strangely powerful source of stillness and strength.

Learn more about sudoku, get your basic skills up and look at a whole bunch of great sudoku pics here at the Sudoku Pool on flickr.

Image above: Sudokuby Jason Cartwright, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Image below: Sudoku on the Waterloo and City Line, by Annie Mole , via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license