My brain doesn’t turn off by itself. I’ve had to teach it to. The brain of a systems thinker cranks away at solving problems and making never-before-seen connections and enjoys doing that. There are two opposing activities that inspire me: using my brain and shutting it down.
Think until a breakthrough:
I love coming into the office early on a Saturday to think. Think and research and then think some more. E-mail is off, the shop is quiet and I just think. You get into that state of flow where there’s no concept of time. I allow my mind go on its own journey using the bits, pieces and connections it made all week long. Then, there’s that moment where you connect concepts or uncover things previously unseen. A breakthrough. Sudden and dramatic. It’s a great day if I get to come home and say, “Wow, I had several breakthroughs today, let’s eat cake!”
Hike until it’s quiet:
I love to hike. Long, three hour hikes in the Silicon Valley foothills. The first two hours, my brain activity is flying. First I inventory my heart and behavior. I think about what went well and say prayers of forgiveness for what could have been better. Then, I try to solve for things on my mind. Finally, I reach this place where my mind finally goes silent. It’s like my brain is still and makes room for my soul to be at peace. Sometimes it feels so good, I dance. Yes, that whack-job in the dirty hiking shoes dancing around on the mountain is me. I try to be discreet, but this one particular hike, I passed a guy on the way down and he said “What is it that you were doing up there?” Apparently, I’m not a very good dancer!
I know, I know, more people are probably inspired by cute kitties and sunsets, but for me there’s no better feeling than a breakthrough and stillness.
Enjoy your summer!