Some days my brain feels tired, unorganized and dull. Other days, my mind wakes up, composes itself, and consequently, seems to compose great ideas as well.
I’ve often pondered what triggers my moments of crystal clear and fluid brainstorming and what leads to sleepy gray congested brainwaves taking over the airspace. It’s not exactly an epiphany but the volume of activity and stress in the rest of my day plays a significant role in where I land along the spectrum of creative and intellectual success.
Day to day tasks and responsibilities, when at their most taxing, essentially consume all of my available mental capacity leaving little left to organize any semblance of intellectual or poetic train of thought. When life takes a breather, my creative genius kicks back into gear, and I have a fighting chance of channeling my inner wavelengths into something meaningful and worth sharing. Really it just seems to come down to a matter of a definitive amount of space in my brain and sometimes there just isn’t space for my little creative genius gnome to thrive (or even sneak in a few words, for that matter).Wondering what the heck this Creative Genius thing of which I speak is? I shared more about it and from where I garnered this idea previously. You can read about one of my less creatively inspired days and then more about where I find ideas when the well feels empty!
In between the work of work and the work of family, I’ve found a few reliable places my creative brain can almost always find space to exercise and exhale.
The Shower – Oh the tried and true shower trick. You probably have all experienced the epiphanies discovered under the rush of spraying water. When we let go of all the other to do lists and agendas plaguing our brain, we give ourselves space and peace to come back to the deeper meaningful thoughts just waiting for their chance to be the sun breaking through the heavily overcast sky that can sometimes be life’s daily grind.
Viparita Karani (a.k.a. Legs Up The Wall) – Sometimes, though not often enough, I commit 15-20 minutes of time before bed to stretching. Not only do I release the physical tensions of the day, but I also let go of or make sense of all the thoughts that passed through my brain that day.I almost always do this in the dark, every light in my downtown apartment turned off to truly provide a place to focus my energy internally. I know yoga, like this “legs up the wall” pose, strives to teach us to let go of our thoughts and just focus on ourselves. But sometimes I like to use this time in a peaceful position to just focus on my thoughts. I give myself an opportunity to create ideas out of the mental clutter and foster prose out of the day’s internal chatter.
It’s in these moments that I find peace in my mind, make sense of my churning thoughts, and even write some of my best blog posts. (During my relaxation, when the moment is right, I document my ideas and flowing blog posts in Evernote so as not to lose the intellectual bliss. Then I allow myself to let it go for now and return to my state of silence. I come back to my scribbled notes to edit and construct something suitable to share with friends or for you to read on the blog later.)
Want to try Viparita Karani? Here are some step-by-step instructions to foster your own moment of peace.
Rubbing My Boys Backs At Bedtime – A bit like legs up the wall, the dark silence surrounding this time becomes a blank slate, a white board of space to mentally layout my internal chatter and take it from chaos to calm and collected. I often get lost in my thoughts while laying in bed next to the boys and thirty minutes pass by before I know it.
Commuting – Whether I’m walking to work, sitting on the train, or behind the wheel in Chicago’s treacherous traffic, ideas flow quickly. When I capture a good one, especially while driving when I can’t easily write it down or add it to Evernote, I repeat it in my head time and again hoping not to lose the magic. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But nonetheless, it’s a great time to wade through my thoughts and grab hold of the gems.
P.S. I used to hate commuting. And I don’t love sitting in a car for over an hour somedays traveling each way for work. But with podcasts, which I’ve grown to love, and time to myself, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of a bit of space between work and family to decompress and dream.
Where do you find space to dream, to organize your thoughts, to discover the epiphanies in your mind just waiting to be uncovered? What spaces or places or experiences bring you moments of inner peace and quiet?