Ride the Alpha Waves
My best ideas emerge when I am submerged. Under a warm flowing fall of water.
In the shower.
I have always wondered how this could be. How is it that in a space where I do not have a pen or paper handy, with a bubbly amount of soap sloshed in my hair and beads of water dripping from every pore of my body, the light bulb goes off and a new blog post is born, a new business idea or a new adventure is envisioned?
I always found this fascinating, and weird. Almost like a mean joke the Universe played.
So today, while in flight to an adventure and cracking the spine of on a new book titled Imagine, by Jonah Lehrer, I was schooled about the warm shower. Stick with me here as I share some brain knowledge:
“What is this predictive brain signal? The essential element is a steady rhythm of alpha waves emanating from the right hemisphere. While the precise function of the alpha waves remains mysterious, they’re closely associated with the relaxing activities such as a taking a warm shower…It’s not until we’re being massaged by warm water, unable to check our email, that we’re finally able to hear the quiet voices in the backs of our heads telling us about the insight. The answers have been there all along – we just weren’t listening.” (Lehrer p. 30-32).
From this, I started to remember my best ideas and the association with the warm shower. The moment my eyes close and warm water rushes down my skull, into my ears and melts my shoulder. The vulnerability and beauty of being naked. My body letting go. I also realized the stillness I allow in the mountains when I hike. There is a sudden loss of cell service, zero sight of the crazy city and actually a far enough distance to any escape to the perceived ‘real life’ and I am truly able to listen to myself. In nature. Finally, it also happens on a run. Not short distances but the longer distance runs along the beach, far enough from my front door, from the line where the sidewalk meets the sand, far enough from a computer. I feel free.
Do note, I question if I am hiding in the water or the sand or up in the mountains. Am I hiding from my current life? The answer rings ‘no’. It is truly a space that is created where I feel relaxed, quiet, and no pressure to perform. There is no right or wrong that comes from these great ideas or insights, it is a light bulb that leads me to a new door I had not seen before. I feel strong and alive. I feel choice. These alpha waves that Mr. Lehrer speaks of allow space and creativity that is not available when I force myself to focus or solve or be solution-oriented.
Something to think about.
Actually, something to not think about. Go jump in the warm shower, run to the Ocean or get in your Mountain that brings you the answers that have been there all along.
Allow space. Be quiet. And ride the alpha waves.