It’s Thursday, so I’m Crafting my Life! For 2011, I have ditched the themes and link-ups. Instead, I am just going to write what I’m thinking about this week. And if you would like to chime in and contribute a guest post about your own journey, please drop me a line and we’ll chat.
Have you ever forgotten a word that you know you should remember? I have, I do it all the time. I’ll be talking merrily along, and then suddenly I’ll trip. The word I’m looking for vanishes, and I end up using another one in its place, but I know it’s not quite as good. And then I spend some time wracking my brain, trying to remember what that word is, again. It doesn’t come to me.
But then, three days later I’ll be cutting the crusts off yet another PB&J and for my kids and it will hit me like a blinding flash of light. Equivocate! That’s the word I was looking for in that moment. While I had mostly forgotten about the episode, some part of my subconscious had not. While I was going about my life, it was working and coming up with an answer. Sure it would be cool if it worked a little faster, but I’m happy to be free of that niggling question all the same.
I have observed the same sort of phenomenon happening as I undertake new projects. Let’s say I come up with an idea, but I’m not sure how to implement it. I can think and think, and not come up with much, try as I may. But something happens later, often when I’m just drifting off to sleep, or engaged in an activity that’s physically repetitive and doesn’t require too much thought. Seemingly from out of nowhere, I suddenly produce a solution that moves my idea forward significantly. Back when I made baby carriers, in fact, I had a flash of sewing inspiration that was so compelling I had to get out of bed at midnight and test it out.
I know I’m not the only one who experiences this sort of thing. A lot of creative types recommend keeping a pen and paper on your bedside table, so that you can record those flashes of inspiration that come to you in the middle of the night. A lot of people seem to have their best ideas when they’re straddling that place between being conscious and unconscious. Apparently, when we’re relaxed our brains produce alpha waves, and alpha waves “turn on” creativity. There’s even a scientific explanation for the whole thing.
So, what is my point? It’s that even when it doesn’t look like it, our brains are always working. So it’s not necessary to have all the answers as you set out to craft your life. Even just formulating one or two questions is huge. Then, without much effort on your part, your subconscious mind can do its thing and work on them. If you’re open to it, you may find answers when you least expect it. You may start seeing patterns and getting inspiration as you drift off to sleep. Or you may just be in the place to key in on solutions you stumble across in your daily life.
Of course, deliberately creating a life requires work. But even more than that, it requires us to get out of our own way. We don’t always have to force everything, and we don’t always have to know exactly where we’re going when we set out. We just need to know that we want to get somewhere, and be willing to read the directions as they come. Which is really a huge relief for me, because I would love to pawn off some of my work on my subconscious.
What about you? Have you ever had flashes of inspiration from out of nowhere? What is that like for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PS – A couple of weeks ago I was on the radio! I was on Real Parenting with Shirley Broback in Victoria. Well, she was in Victoria, and I was in my bedroom on the phone, but you get the point, right? We talked all about Crafting my Life. And now you can listen to my interview online.