#235 Your thinking place

Your brain’s a drain.

Yup, according to our egghead pals over at Wikipedia, although our brains are only 2% of our body weight they use somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% of our body’s energy. Now that’s a lot, especially when you consider the energy-hogging hearts, lungs, and blood highways zig-zagging up and down our bony frames.

I heard a scientist give a speech once and he said can you believe it? Can you believe when humans first showed up we actually survived? After all, we had no camouflaged skin, no super hearing, and couldn’t fly. We couldn’t see in the dark, breathe underwater, or beat a monkey in a fistfight.

Basically, he said, we sucked.

Except for one little thing.

When we came around we had a three pound pile of flesh secretly stashed in our skulls. Our brains helped us develop tools, stone weapons, and hunting strategies. Our brains helped us socialize, fantasize, and dream. Essentially, we are our brains — and they’ve come to define everything we do. I’m using my brain to write this down you’re using yours to read it up.

I say nobody knows how far the thinking really goes. Sure, outer space goes way out forever but maybe inner space goes way in, too. Have you ever reached way back in your noggin’ and found a new conclusion, wild idea, or crazy thought? Back beyond your brain’s borders are big dreams twisting and turning … just waiting to let themselves out.

Your thinking place is where you go to nurture wild fires in your heart.

And maybe you dream in the shower, maybe you imagine in the car, maybe you wonder in the mirror, maybe you think in Myanmar. But wherever it is, wherever you go, wherever you sizzle, wherever you flow, well that thinking place is somewhere that helps you buzz and burn and become a little bit more


— Email message —

“Here are images of the books my grade 7/8 and 8 class created this spring.  Their ideas ranged  from racing the microwave to mud puddles to the end of a good book to moving to another country to doodling to helping others to new pencils.  Their creativity, enthusiasm and dedication far exceed my expectations.  This assignment was an opportunity to express themselves in the truest form and have fun while doing it.” – Ally Greig

Photos from: here, here, and here

45 thoughts on “#235 Your thinking place

  1. My best ideas always seem to come to me in the shower. Or right before I fall asleep. Basically, whenever I am super relaxed I am able to think clearly.

  2. Sometimes, I’ll just put on some music while it’s raining and start to write. I get some good ideas from rain. It inspires me.

  3. There’s a canyon near my house, and in that canyon, one huge tree. About 30 or 40 feet off the ground is where I go to think.

    1. I used to have a thinking tree. I carved my name in it before I moved. Someday, I hope to visit it again…

    1. I do this when I go for walks. I put on earphones but don’t turn on my iPod, so people think I’m listening to music and don’t interrupt my thoughts.

      1. See I can’t think when I have music, so I never run with music. I will however sing if I get bored. But, it is fun to just think out loud because you can almost debate yourself on ideas you are unsure about, and you can see the funny faces of the neighbors when you run by.

  4. i love this one :) everyone needs somewhere to escape to, to just sit and think and process through things. mine’s been simple lately – just a notebook in my room before going to sleep (the thunderstorms this week have made for a great backdrop to thinking and writing!). If i could pick ANYWHERE though, it would always and every time be sitting on the beach, listening to the waves crash and feeling the sand in my toes – awesome!

        1. Pretty sure it’s Leif Garret dreaming about Brooke Shield’s and “The Blue Lagoon”.

  5. Side topic:

    So, I read something really cool the other day. Two doctors (Emmons and McCullough) did an interesting study back in 2003. They had one group of subjects keep a “gratitude journal” every day of things they were happy about or thankful for, etc. They had two other groups keep “neutral journals” and “hassle journals”.

    They found that people who kept a “gratitude journal” exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those in the other two groups. Additionally, participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.

    I think this is an amazing finding! It is some evidence that your happiness level is somewhat in your own control. If you try to look for the good things in life, you’ll start to experience more of them. I really love this study.

    At any rate, I figured I’d mention it here, because I think it’s really what this whole site is about. Who knew that there was scientific, empirical evidence for just how awesome this website is!

    Thanks for helping us keep a group “gratitude journal” for the past few years, Neil!! :)

    1. That is an interesting study. Thanks for sharing it. I’m going to start my “gratitude journal” right . . . now :)

    2. True, but the term “hassle journal” kinda sounds cute. Now I want to have a hassle journal…I’ll just have to refrain from ever re-reading my entries so as not to dwell on the negative. It seems like that would be a good outlet to write down the hassles and just get them out of your system, but maybe the experiment didn’t control for the re-reading aspect…
      Hassle #1: Flying all the way across the country only to get stuck aboot 50 miles from the Canadian border and not being able to get there for at least another day. Oh, but I got to go to the REI flagship store and saw the most awesome rainbow ever today. Wow ok I kinda suck at sticking to the negative. I guess I had a pretty awesome day, even though I have yet to experience Canada.
      And yes, I second the thanks to Neil for our own little gratitude corner of the interwebs.

  6. Flight, camouflaged skin, super hearing? Ahhh, the super hearing of super highly sophisticated mammals is something else, isn’t it? Other than the substantial risk of tuning in to the occasion wave of static on a Thursday night, it has so many positive though slightly maladaptive applications. Listening in to the gentle rain falling on a house, or a temple roof halfway across the country for example, you are always connected so you don’t have to miss a thing AND it almost completely saves you from getting caught holding a cup against the door – big plus!

  7. I have a thinking place. It’s a wonderful, rundown park with, you guessed it, old and dangerous playground equipment. serioulsy, the ground there is made of woodchips.

    Anyway, I come up with my best ideas on the swing on the left. I can swing for an hour or more depending on how into my thoughts I am.

  8. My Thinking Place has all ways been
    when I am, in nature, outside
    the further I am able to go within.


  9. I love having multiple thinking places or a place to think that isn’t context-specific, rather, content-specific. Meaning, instead of having to be at say Jones Park, any park will do. Being out at a park sitting on a bench could be the thinking place. I really like it when there are an abundance of thinking places (like the park bench vs. a specific park).

    With Love and Gratitude,


  10. Magda, I just love the whymsy, magical road map of your words here.
    What you wrote actually resonated with something I read today:
    “According to the ancients, we need to listen to the mammals too, especially whale~ in order for the world to survive, earth’s children will have to unite and honor all emotions, all ways and all races.”
    Thanks for sharing with such spark, Freddo.
    There’s so many places I’ve been; people and things I have seen, and yes, I still find solace with an attitude of gratitude.
    I have my favorite places of inspiration but I pretty much think everywhere…which lead me to this thought, “The Brain Has No Borders”; decided to google this precisely and up came “The collected works of Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1962-1963.”
    I’m even more grateful now, to have been born in 1961.
    I believe the brain has no borders.
    “I think, therefore I am,” really striving to be a model citizen with passion in and of awesomeland, and for the world.
    With fortitude, I show my gratitude, every day, every way I can!
    Thank you Neil, for this beautiful thought provoking weekend post.

    1. A story about my 5 year old grand-daughter, Sienna’s thinking place:
      This Easter she decided to felt colour our cotton couch. It’s old, stained; not life threatening and we really should have pleather with our habits, but we had to respect the parents rights to discuss the issue. Sienna was very upset; one adult thought the punishment should be far more harsh than the other and an argument ensued about just how much a child who is 5 can actually comprehend what they’ve done, discipline, yada-yadas.
      Finally, in a firm tone she was told, “Sienna, you march yourself up those stairs, into the bedroom; sit there and think about what you’ve done until we say you can come out of there!”
      Well, Sienna stopped short, (actually very tall for 5), and with hands on her hips, raised her own voice, spirit strong and sturnly said,
      “I will not think about what I’ve done and you cannot make me think about it! You can’t make me think about anything! I WILL NOT, I WILL NOT, I WILL NOT!”
      She stormed into the room and slammed the door.
      “Well, I guess she told us”, said her mom; my daughter, everyone thought had quite the will when she was a little girl!
      All the adults who were present couldn’t help but laugh!
      (*Who’s theory was, comprehend only so much what at 5?!*)
      She helped me wash the colours off, good enough.
      Will it matter a year from now? Her lesson will.
      Our future is in the hands of brilliant minds, Thank God!

  11. Oh it’s the best! Mine used to be my roof, but ever since we moved to another house, my thinking place is now kneeling besides my bed, or maybe sitting outside. I’d rather be around nature though, so I try to go on my roof every now and then. My roof now isn’t as fun as the other used to be :) but it still works.
    Anyway, God loves you all. Be blessed.

  12. I think best when I’m outside alone running around carelessly and having fun. Climbing trees seems to be the best of the best. The worst part is when someone walks by and stares at you like your an alien. I think we’ve all been there right? But the secret is to be alone with no destractions.

  13. My thinking place in a little space in the back of my closet that I call Narnia. I do everything there :).

  14. the place that makes me feel free and that frees me from my problems is when I’m in the park under a tree, lying in the grass, staring at the blue sky. I can forget all the bad things, put the headset in my ear and enhance sound, make plans, dream a little unreachable, forget a little about myself.

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