Postcard from Southern California
What a robust people, what a nation of thinkers we might be, if we would only lay ourselves on the shelf occasionally and renew our edges! – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad
Sitting on the porch of a log cabin lodge, sipping hot coffee and looking out at the view above of Lake Cuyamaca in southern California. This is me ‘putting myself on the shelf’ as Mark Twain says. This is delicious time. My mind wonders. It hops about from past memories to future plans, to people and places and projects. And I let it play. Deep breaths, quiet contemplation of the landscape.
Neurologists call this state REST or “Random Episodic Silent Thought,” a state in which the parts of the brain responsible for association are free to communicate without constraints. Dr. Nancy Andreason’s research has demonstrated correlations between this state and creativity.
Thoughts of the WWNG soon come to mind and the many moments of creativity and renewal I’ve experienced with women in this group. The rounds of 30-second introductions are themselves a kind of collective free association exercise. Each person puts a thought out there, an offer, a request, and others respond with related ideas and offers from their own experience. Eyes brighten, enthusiasm bubbles, the connections spark.
A wave of gratitude follows for this network in which connections transform professional and personal lives in small and not-so-small ways. I wonder how fellow WWNG members are ‘putting themselves on the shelf’ this summer.