Just let it go…
When we dance improv, we let go of our constant thinking and controlling. We let the body call the shots. It’s like meditation—we clear the mind of its constant scurrying, busy chatter. We focus on the breath, on the exhale. And we step back.
What we get is a state called diffuse thinking. In diffuse thinking, the brain makes much more random connections. Our unresolved questions are still floating around, but we are not actively digging at them. It’s like a dream time. Fragments and wisps arise and mingle. We don’t seem to be doing anything, but the brain is very powerful. It is always seeking organization and resolution. Behind the scenes, it is processing all these bits and fitting them into the missing puzzle pieces.
We may get only refreshment from our break—the mind needs and enjoys breaks in the routine far more often than we might think, as we are so used to pushing ourselves endlessly. Learning science shows that interleaving—going away from a subject of study and coming back to it later—is a far more powerful learning tool than pushing through (it is the actual going away and coming back that that is valuable—the letting go of and refocusing on the subject). But quite often, after our break, we find answers to our questions, new understandings for our ideas, and wholeness, where before we had only broken bits.
Rather than a controlled, systematic exploration, diffuse thinking makes a space for something unstructured to arise. Rather than digging consciously, we let the rain wash away the dirt. It’s so valuable a process that I regularly keep a notebook handy when I dance, as ideas sometimes come in floods.
Next time you have a knotty problem, let it go and dance instead.
Keep a notebook handy to record any insights you might have. Even if none come, you still get a vacation from your cares.
Let me know how it goes!