I’ve had many careers (is it okay to use that word if you’ve made zero money at any of them?) Perhaps avocation is a more accurate description. In any event, I’ve done a lot of artsy stuff from acting, directing, and costume design in theatre to many levels of filmmaking and, most recently, to novel writing. I’m hoping that before I die I will dabble in abstract expressionist painting in my old age–that’s assuming I can still hold up a brush, but then I’ve always been an optimist. One constant in my life is creativity. I suppose I could say it’s my drug (drugs can kill, I’ve learned to temper my addiction). Over the years I’ve made some personal observations on the nature of creativity and what the best ways to foster it are. I’m happy to share them here…
A Walk in the Woods
Nothing cures my internet overload more than a quiet walk in nature. This isn’t news, but it helps to be reminded of how important it is to unplug, turn off the noise, and connect to a higher power. Like many Romantics before me, I find that in nature. Although walking with a friend is fun and that certainly has its place (nothing like the therapeutic walk n’ talk), for fostering creativity the daily perambulation in quiet contemplation is essential and is best a solo endeavor. For those with limited mobility, even meditating outdoors for twenty minutes is invaluable. Try not to check your phone, or better yet leave it at home.
Of course, Stephen King’s daily walk got him nearly killed by a van, so do be careful. That being expressed, my favorite walks are the rambling, aimless ones.
Two roads diverged?
Here are a few highlights from my mid-day walk yesterday (yes, I brought my phone because I took a break from work and I had to time my return). I found this lovely little path. The weather was perfect. I turned off the noise in my brain and checked in to the happy sounds of chirping birds and branches swaying in the gentle breeze. After a long, wet winter, the sun felt so good on my skin I was instantly filled with quiet gladness. I felt a Buddha smile forming in the corners of my lips which remained throughout the day. My spiritual battery was charged. The following morning I still feel it.
I stumble upon two, child-sized benches. I’m instantly flashing some Turn of the Screw ghost story. This scene don’t exactly invite me to sit–oh, I kept a first for another day. Walking in the woods brings snatches of old lauds to mind.
A child’s hut–or a witch’s hovel? Shall I stay for tea? I think not.
No girls allowed?
What’s this little hide-out, now abandoned? I know there’s something nasty beneath that rotted board.
Blue skies from now on
My walk is done and I return to my computer screen for the next several hours. I take the healing energy with me, rested and centered till the next asshole knocks me off course…I joke. This good feeling lasts. When my mind is clear, I am much more creative.
The road less travelled doesn’t automatically lead to Nirvana, as many artists have learned, but the creative essence of the human spirit is sacred and must be treated with respect. A quiet, daily walk helps remind us of that.