Today and yesterday I was thinking about what it means to be a creative thinker, a creative person, and how the creative process works.
I noticed in Lidiya’s post how one of the things which opens the way for inspiration is to sit in a quiet place in nature, and also meditation. This relates to Robin LaFever’s recent post on Writer Unboxed, titled “The Surprising Importance of Doing Nothing”. I noticed a theme in what both of these writers are saying (these are my comments, not a quote, I just wanted to put emphasis):
Creative types are inspired to create when we have time to “sit inside ourselves” and just…think. It helps spark the creative juices in our brain to an “on” switch when we can just sit, in a space that has no limits or distractions (such as nature landscapes), and in a space of mind where nothing and no one interrupts us.
We have no big To-Do list to work on…our phones are off…our breath enters and leaves our bodies with a sense of calm…
Perhaps we are walking somewhere…waiting in line…sitting alone in a meadow full of wild flowers…whatever it is, it is a space and time which is open for us. Our creative gateways can open, to fill our empty space and empty mind. We have a blank slate, a blank moment, in a life otherwise filled with busy-ness, where modern times demand us to look, call, pay attention – and then there’s always something else on the horizon, beckoning, fighting for our attention. Our attention spans are short, used to flipping from one thing to another quickly, like a flip book.
This does not work, sometimes, for creative thinkers.
Take that empty space and empty mind, that little drop of free time…and make something new.
We have been called daydreamers, hippies, losers, weirdos, and in this day and age of smartphones, Facebook, and Google+ accounts constantly bleeping and blooping at us…where is there time, patience, and the inner quietness to create? It seems like we don’t belong in the modern age. We aren’t made to feel that we belong, either.
Yet it is imperative, I think, if we are really dedicated to continuing our chosen creative craft, to make that time to be silent, to do nothing. We have to “step out of time” and give ourselves empty space and empty minds. Then, we can create.
I find it very interesting that great things can come from nothing. Allow the nothing, and a brilliant idea for your current book might squeeze its way out of you onto paper…images can flash through our subconscious, and spark the next painting. We have time to breathe, to remember old snippets of things we heard, articles we read. We have time to just think, and be…to feel whatever we are currently feeling.
Sitting with ourselves for a bit like this is very important. I think that creative types would benefit from doing this every day. I want to do it every day, too. In addition to morning meditation and yoga, I want to give myself time alone to just be. Let the creative process flow uninhibited, unblocked, unescapable…let it pour from my mind like a river.
You know how good it feels, if you have created – art, music, writing, whatever medium is your favorite – when inspiration flows through you. You’re typing madly, your paintbrush is whirling, your music is pressing around you and out of you… It feels good when our work just flows out of us. It is easy, and lovely, and it is times like these that re-affirm that we are doing the right thing, even though other times we may doubt this difficult path of creativity that we have chosen.
I like to open myself to inspiration by find a nice place to be alone. Sometimes this is a nature place – to sit by a creek, lie in a meadow, or even just to lie flat on the floor and gaze up at the ceiling for a while. All of these help my mind and body to relax and just let the ideas come.
More on this topic another time. Feel free to share your thoughts on this! I’d love to know what you think.
Let’s make a pact to give ourselves empty, nothing time for creative ideas to flow in!