It is truly fascinating how the mind works.
Often when we think we have an innovative idea it’s actually a compilation of bits of information that our brain has unconsciously assembled.
Case in point, I recently decided to re-watch BBC’s Sherlock. In watching the show a couple years ago I had (consciously) gotten the idea of “mind palace,” which inspired the name of this blog, Quixie’s Mind Palace.
I also decided recently to change the theme of my blog and knew that I must have an image of a winding staircase so I purchased an image for the front page of my blog showing a winding staircase. This is the image I settled on:
Though, I oscillated between that and a top-view that looked nearly identical to this image:
Where did I get this idea of a winding staircase in my mind palace? Sherlock, that’s where! This image comes from episode “His Last Vow”, where Sherlock is frantically searching his mind palace in an effort to save his life.
Damn it! This image came from memory of a Sherlock episode not from my creative process!
Why I settled on “Quixie’s Mind Palace”
Sherlock uses his Mind Palace to help him recall memories and that’s essentially what I’ve hoped to do here on this blog – store my thoughts and be able to access them later. In real life I’m not so great at accessing facts (though, truth be told, no one really is) however I am fantastic at accessing memories of mood, environment, tones, colors, and feelings.
I’ve always seen my psyche as a house, even as a little girl. I’m not alone: Swiss psychologist Carl Jung spent 30 years building his home on Lake Zurich and described the different parts of his castle presenting different parts of his psyche.
Often times I’ve had dreams in which I explored homes, typically mansions.
“Think of the house as yourself. The meaning of a dream about a house depends on the message the self is trying to relay.”
– Vocata George, Ph.D., a Jungian Analyst at the C.G. Jung Education Center of Cleveland
My favorites dreams were ones in which I kept discovering rooms and secret passageways.
“Since the house is a symbol of yourself it could show you that you could be bigger. If you find more and more rooms in a big house, you may need to be more conscious of pieces of yourself not yet discovered.” – also Vocata George, Ph.D
The part of my dreams that have fascinated me the most are the attics. The closer I get to an attic the more hellish it becomes. I’m talking about severe nightmares here when I reach the attic! Waking up to cold sweats, even screaming. There was always something up there calling to me and threatening to me.
The draw to the attic would overtake me and I would follow the path towards the attic, which would often get interrupted along the way with more rooms to discover. But rarely I would find and open up the attic door, climb the steps and go inside. In my dreams the attic was always a hoarders dream: boxes and broken furniture piled ceiling high. I couldn’t see the wicked thing that was waiting for me but I knew it was there. My thoughts and mind (FEARS!) were exposed and I was at it’s mercy – it threatened to ruin my life where ever I went. Before I could see anything I’d wake up in terror.
“A man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose”
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novella, A Study in Scarlet (1887)
The meaning of my nightmares of this evil force in the attic? I’m still not quite sure but the nightmares stopped when I stopped believing in the supernatural. Or maybe it’s cessation has to do with simultaneously getting the treatment I need for my mood disorder. There is no one waiting to harm me, though I could understand why it would have felt that way to me, as it’s the human tendency to personify things we don’t understand, like the manic-depressive monster that has haunted me since I was a young teen.
One of the things that is fascinating about the human brain is that we store all this information inside our heads and we are constantly simultaneously cataloging and connecting dots and creating meaning. People say that dreams don’t mean anything. I disagree. Without the conscious filter of re-directly our thoughts during sleep our brain is sorting through massive amounts of data and deciding what to do with it.
This blog is my virtual house, my Mind Palace.