Monday, July 21, 2008

A Little Less Effort

I coined a phrase this morning that I know will live on in the world of our experience:

a little less effort and a little more rock and roll.

Sheriden laughed when I said it to her on the phone, and asked me if I’d thought it up right then. I had.

I was talking about today’s (Saturday’s) New York Times crossword puzzle when I said it.

For those who aren’t puzzle maniacs, puzzles in The New York Times get progressively more complicated as the week goes on and the month goes on thanks to editor Will Shortz. Saturday puzzles can be a bear. The clues get more and more obscure and require further leaps of intuition.

That’s what happened to me over the weekend.

I was stumped. Almost totally. Sheriden was away at a workshop and we were visiting in our usual first thing in the morning wake-up call. I was looking at the puzzle in my computer and instead of locking in with my brain, determined to wrestle the clues into revealing themselves through logic and intellect, I let go.

Whilst we chatted, I was able to finish the whole thing.

Most of my attention was on Sheriden and her experience of the previous evening’s Ko Festival performance. The rest of it was on Will Shortz and his Saturday puzzle.

Consider this as a strategy the next time you feel your brain lock in and prepare to do battle with an intellectual challenge. Put part of your attention on the problem and the other on something, or someone, you love, where you go with the flow easily. (Solitaire works just as well.)

See if the challenge doesn’t reveal itself right before your eyes. A little less effort and a little more rock and roll.

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