One morning whilst in the bath, I randomly thought of the Mafia. I have no recollection of how or why the thought of organised crime crept into mind – but suddenly I began to ponder over the origin of the Mafia.
Images of cavemen protecting their land and women filled my head like the bath was being filled with hot water. I could just see a group of well-slicked Neanderthals in hand-stitched loin cloths politely discussing the future of their lands. As a form of risk management and “insurance” – they would
demand ask for payment in exchange for protection and compensation over the other men’s properties.
So in my mind, if a man paid this Mafia group a slaughtered animal (?) a month, that man’s cave and woman was protected. If anything happened to his cave or woman, the Mafia would then proceed to find the schmuck who caused the problem and decide how best to handle the situation. …I was of cause disappointed when I stepped out of the shower, back into reality to find that this criminal syndicate was not formed in the caveman era, but was in fact officially formed in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily.
Whenever I’m out of the shower, drying myself off, random thoughts and ideas don’t come to mind as easily. Stepping out of the bathroom into the hall feels like I’m actually leaving Narnia and re-entering the land of logical thought (ha!).
The Mafia cave-men idea hasn’t been the most random thought I’ve had whilst showering, but has sparked off some good conversations – as well as some plain weird looks. When I’m alone I tend to ask myself questions in life that no one else asks. I ask myself these questions whilst in the shower because they’re so incredibly simple but unanswerable, yet when asked aloud – they sound ridiculous. I once asked myself if I’d like olives if I wasn’t Greek…
You see, the bath at home is one of the old style baths where you have to hold up the showerhead yourself in order to shower – so it takes twice as long in the bath. So really, it’s not my fault I come up with such random thoughts and questions with the time I have on my hands.
No one has to worry about being judged whilst in the shower when they’re alone – why do you think so many people aren’t afraid to dance naked in the shower or sing loudly on their own? Finally surrounded by solitude you have the chance to be yourself and ponder without distraction. Literally stripped, you have no materials on you and no eyes on you to judge your thoughts, mind or imagination. Thankfully no one’s there to hear me ask out loud if cats think in their own language…(don’t ask).
As a change of scenery to the normal hustle and bustle of life and work, time slows down when you’re having a long bath or hot shower. By merely changing your view and perception of things (attire or lack of, temperature, addition of water and change of location) can sometimes result in new thinking and sets the stage for the unexpected.
It is pretty crazy what can go through your mind when you’re not focused on anything in particular. I don’t believe that your mind can go completely blank, you’ll always be thinking of something – even if you don’t realise it. Some people’s imagination runs off into realms of humour, romanticism, horror, fantasy and just pure randomness when minimal mental engagement is required for the task in hand.
It’s why people find certain activities like cleaning, cooking or washing up so therapeutic – because the monotony and nearly subconscious nature of such tasks frees the mind and allows the individual’s brain to provoke deeper contemplation.
Some people have a special place they go to; be it in the country, driving in the car or merely a place in their home they know they can be alone. According to the bible of western culture, Wikipedia states that “a bathroom is a room that may have different functions depending on the cultural context”. So for me – ever since I was young – I’ve always gone to the bathroom to have a moment to myself, to have a cry or just to think about things.
When you’re in the shower or taking a bath, you are probably at your most relaxed state of mind (and body). Letting the water run over your arms and back, and down your neck reduces the stress and worries of the day, freeing your mind and letting your thoughts go places you wouldn’t imagine. The shift from being fully engaged in a creative activity to disengagement altogether is described as a “creative pause” by Edward de Bono. From as a little as 30 seconds, “some of the best results come when people stop to think about things that no one else has stopped to think about”.
It is a well known fact that throughout history, artists and musicians have used certain methods such as drugs and alcohol to enhance their imagination and artistic skills.
Someone should just tell them to take a long bath and use their natural mindset to produce great imagination and creation.
When Elvis Presley died in 1977 – wasn’t he found on the toilet? …And Jim Morrison found in the bath in 1971?
I’m not disputing the fact that drugs was most likely found in their systems but where were they? Indeed – in their bathrooms.
Fair enough it’s a bit morbid BUT they found solitude in the bathroom – somewhere where they could express themselves.
I’m not ruling out that there wasn’t the use of opium back in the day(!) BUT both the Greeks and the Romans recognised the value of bathing as a more important part of their lifestyles! To regain their strength, writers such as Homer had their heroes bathe in warm water as they believed this was a source of relaxation and rejuvenation. So it’s not surprising that Archimedes happened to have been in the bath when he had his “eureka” moment all those years ago!
As the wise Greeks realised, bathing wasn’t only important just to be physically clean but also to be mentally clean. When you’re going through a tough time and need some space…rather than go on a drinking binge – be hard core and go take a shower! Rinse away the woes of life’s struggles – you’ll feel so much better, if only for a moment.
As an oasis amid the chaos of daily chores, you need this chance to release tension. Edward de Bono believed that “being creative may just be a matter of setting aside the time needed to take a step back and allow yourself to ask yourself if there is a better way of doing something”. I just wish that I could be as creative and free thinking as much as I am when I’m in the shower – I just don’t think people are ready for that yet!