I love New York but it can be way too much — and the last few months have pushed me to the limit. The streets have been too damned jammed with holiday tourists and texting millennials. The pre-dawn construction project down the block had been going on for too damned long. And winter came too damned early and frigid this year.
JJ and I concluded we had to get out of Dodge, sit in the sun and eat clementines. Now we’re in LA for a month and my sluggish brain is starting to thaw.
It’s not just New York. It’s modern life.
We are so overstimulated these days, so constantly bombarded with data and factoids and posts and videos and tweets, that our poor brains never get a chance to absorb all the input. We can’t make fresh connections or invent new directions under this constant barrage. Our heads are overstuffed and overstimulated.
You can’t force your imagination to produce. Push too hard and you’ll strain yourself. You need to back off and let stuff marinate and digest.
Make your imagination work harder — by letting it rest.
Nice as as it is, you don’t have to come to Cali to turn down the pressure.
Try to spend more time walking without your earbuds. Turn off the car radio. Put your phone on airplane mode and stare out the window. Take an afternoon nap now and then. Turn off the TV and spend the evening in candlelight.
Your hippocampus, the section of your brain that governs learning and memory, can only do its job and synthesize past input once you stop bombarding it with stimulus. Only then can it sort and organize your experiences to make room for new ideas.
Allow all the inspiration you’ve been gorging on to settle down and find its proper place in the creative jigsaw puzzle. Take time to allow new connections to form. Discover new flavors in the endless smorgasbord. Slowly revolve your challenges, like rough cut diamonds in your hands, to find new facets, new reflections, new gleaming ideas.
Breathe and be still till your brain lets you know it’s done incubating. How? When ideas suddenly start to leap up tasty and hot like fresh popped corn.
Speaking of, there’s a fragrant elote cart down the street grilling cobs on charcoal and I’m ready for a snack break. What a great idea! I love LA.