Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mind explosions and millwheels

Mind explosions

Sometimes I have a mind explosion. I have so many ideas at once that my brain feels like one of those lottery-ball containers. I can’t write the blog posts, teaching content, song lyrics, business ideas, new independent indexing projects, and guitar practice systems down fast enough. It’s exhilerating and a bit overwhelming. It’s the happiest I ever am.

Ever since I started mentally preparing for Barbara Sher’s Big Cheap Weekend (amazing amazingness) a few weeks ago, I’ve been in and out of this state. And I’ve been thinking about what puts me in it, what puts me out of it, do I want to be in it all the time.

All directions at once

Did I mention that I’m a scanner? I’m capable of getting this excited about any number of areas.

For a long time now my primary creative energy has been going into music. Learning guitar! Performing with my incredible duo partner Paul! Writing (gasp) songs! It’s incredibly satisfying and I’m in it for the long haul.

When I started thinking about my Digging for Treasure program, I worried that the energy I put into a new teaching endeavor would take away from my music.

One night my brain turned on and I went to bed with ideas for how to teach this new stuff spilling into my head almost faster than I could notice. I was empowered. I was knowing I could do this.

And in the middle of that teaching idea rush…a song appeared. Lyrics and a strong piece of melody. A really good song.

One rush of creativity opened me to another. I really do live in my whole house.

Ashes and millwheels

Another issue with these rushes of mind energy is that they are so….rushy. Like a huge flow of water coming down from the mountains over a waterfall. So much power, so fast. Will it sweep me away? That might be fun. But maybe not.

And I can’t sleep.

So I’ve been thinking about how to visualize the energy in a way that can be contained without making it go away. I really don’t want to make it go away, I just want it to let me sleep and come back in the morning! Or be steady and long.

Sometimes I try to bank the fire. In the old days the fire was always going (you didn’t have matches to start it again, you had to use flint or borrow a spark from a neighbor). At night you banked it down with ashes so it would last all night and you could start it up again in the morning.

Last night I thought of that waterfall running a millwheel. The water keeps on rushing by, but meanwhile the wheel is slowly, deliberately, work-fully turning. Grinding grain.

I’m going to live by that river for a while now and see what gets made.

Join me in the comments! Do you have mind explosions? What brings them on? How do you handle them? 


  1. Hello from your scanner niece! I'm so glad you got me Refuse to Choose, because I most definitely needed to hear that there are other people out there having mind explosions and also living amazing lives (such as you!) My brain also goes wild and comes up with such great ideas that until now I've been mostly unable to catch up with (they come so fast!) What brings it on is being inspired by other things- nature, people and their interests and hobbies, art, random things on the internet, etc. When I have no input, I have no output. So I'm trying to find ways to be inspired, to keep myself going and my brain productive. So I'm definitely one of your Right People! Let's hear what you have to say!

  2. Aha, I had a feeling you needed that book right about now! We are definitely kindred spirits.

    Here's my advice about mind explosions: capture as much of it as possible. The tricks to doing this are: have capturing tools always handy, and don't expect yourself to DO all the things you think of. Just write them down, draw them, record them. You can do them later if you want. That's what the Barbara Sher's Daybook is for.

    And yes, it seems like it's a balance between input and output. When I get a lot of input at once (think folk festivals), I start getting antsy until I can make some of my own music. But the input is essential.

    I'll be very interested to hear your take on all this stuff!

    xxxxx @@@@ your scanner aunt, Do Mi


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