Did you know that your nervous system literally sends sparks to your brain?

Your brain is shocked millions of times a day, processes them and sends messages back to the body through another set of sparks.  In essence, we go through electrical shock every day of our life.  Hopefully, at least one of those sparks will give us each a moment of genius.

Dr. Pamela Paulson presented some fascinating research at a recent conference.  Researches have found that there is something called the enteric nervous system in the body.  This enteric nervous system is the ignitor for all of those sparks I was talking about.  And here’s the really interesting part about the enteric nervous system:

When you do something creative, it sparks the nerves in the body but NOT the brain.

Now, we’ve all heard of the Mozart Effect and I certainly am a big proponent that being creative does indeed, effect the brain.  There is plenty of documentation out there that creativity engages and deepens connections in areas of the brain.  But I am fascinated that during the creative process, the enteric nervous system is simultaneously sparking the nerves in the body that are connected to the brain, but not the brain itself.

What this means is that when we hear a piece of music, or see a work of art, our nervous system creates a memory of sorts within your body, so that you feel it.  We can then tap into that memory when we are creating something new within that genre so that it becomes a part of our very being.

This, of course, connects to brain-based learning.

Thinking back to our professional development series and engaging students by playing Lean On Me and then asking them for 3 words to describe that song, many will come up with words that are very personal.  They hear the song, it has meaning for them, and they connect that meaning into words.  How many times have you heard a song on the radio and instantly are transported back to a specific time and place in your mind?  I think of the song “Jack and Diane” from John Cougar Mellencamp – whenever I hear that, I immediately remember sitting in the passenger side of my dad’s Bronco with my bare feet up on the dash in the middle of summer while we were on a road trip to Iowa.  So while the enteric nervous system may not spark the brain directly, it causes us to imprint the moment into our beings which then sparks the brain to extend that moment into future creativity.

How can you spark genius today?  How about providing your students or staff with a song from YouTube (PS 22 always works well as an example for me), a visual feast of art from the Google Art Project as a virtual museum walk, or even a lesson using slam poetry?  The possibilities are only as limited as the ignition that you turn.