Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thought #1: What a Great Idea!

I get my best ideas in the shower. I’m washing my hair, enjoying the warm water rushing over my head, and all the time I’m working through a design project, creating a new mosaic or building a flower bed. My biggest problem is having too many ideas while I’m wet and by the time I finish up, dry off, squeegee the shower – poof, they’re fuzzy or worse, gone!

I thought everyone experienced this divine intervention in the shower. And then one day I’m talking with a client and I say something to the effect, “…you know, like when you are in the shower and you get a great idea?”

Huh? He just looked at me with a blank face and said, “what do you mean?” I thought to myself, What’d you mean, what do I mean – doesn’t this happen to everyone? When I questioned him, he explained that he’d grown up in a household of seven siblings, two parents and ONE bathroom. He never knew people stood in the shower and pondered life. He was lucky to get hot water; so he was in and out of the shower in three minutes.

This made me wonder; would I have been a different person, chosen a different career, if I hadn’t stood in the shower and developed ideas? Sometimes I take a shower just so I can figure out a solution to a current problem.

Einstein exclaimed: “Why do I get my best ideas in the shower?” Brain research now tells us that this is because showering is an artistic-brain activity.

The Artist’s Way says this: Showering, swimming, scrubbing, shaving, steering a car, washing dishes, running – all of these are regular, repetitive activities that may tip us over from logic-brain into our more creative artist-brain. Solutions to sticky creative problems may bubble up through the dishwater, emerge on the freeway or while walking in the woods.

Years ago I heard that Wyden and Kennedy, an ad agency in Portland, had a basketball court on their bottom floor. When they were stuck on a project, they’d go play basketball until they came up with the solution. It’s also been said that they had computers right there next to the court so when they came up with a great idea, they could go right over to the computer and work on it (Urban tale?).

My biggest problem to this shower thing was losing ideas I conjured up. An underwater, diving white-board attached to the shower wall was the solution. Now when an idea emerges, I write it down. When I’m meditation or walking I carry a palm-sized tape recorder so I can quickly record the idea. It helps. And I also find, especially in meditation, that the moment I get it recorded, I can let it go and continue with the pursuit of enlightenment. So many ideas, so little water!

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