Peace and QuietLast month, I wrote about Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and their goal of getting the crap out of your head so that your mind is clear for creative work. One of the other goals of Morning Pages is to slow you down long enough to get you in touch with your own thoughts. I know, that sounds a little crazy. After all, if you’re not in touch with your own thoughts, who is? But, when I got started on my recent personal creativity journey, I was moving so fast that it was like a Road Runner cartoon in my head. My legs were spinning and I was moving at warp speed and everything else around me was a blur, including my own thoughts.
I worked with a life coach during this time and one of the things she told me to do one Friday was to sit in a chair (I could drink my tea) and just sit there, not reading, not doing anything else until I really felt compelled to do something. Then, once I had finished that task, I was to sit down until I felt moved again. My reaction when she told me this was, “What???!!!! Are you kidding? What if I don’t feel moved to do anything? Do you really want me to sit in a chair all day?” Her response was, “Yes.” Well, I am a serious student so I did my homework. I settled into the chair with my cup of tea and I drank the whole thing. Then, I felt moved to go make myself some breakfast. Then, I sat back in the chair again. One of the things I realized as I sat there that day was how long it had been since I had had a day off. I mean a real day off and not a day off from work to clean the house and run the errands, etc., but a day off to play. I couldn’t actually remember the last day that I had done that so I am pretty sure it had been years. The other thing that I realized was that once I finished mentally reviewing my To Do list, I actually had some creative ideas in my head. Who knew?
It shouldn’t have been such an epiphany because it seems so obvious, but it was a real “ah ha moment” for me to realize how important it was to slow down. Slow is not my M.O. at all. I am the person who can get an amazing amount of stuff done and still be in bed by 10 PM. But, that lifestyle is not compatible with creativity. Let me say that again. Running around all day from To Do list item to To Do list item getting a lot accomplished, but never stopping for a moment IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH CREATIVITY. It’s exhausting, for one thing. But, inspiration does not wedge itself in between the grocery list and the phone calls to return. Ideas need a little breathing space and that only happens if your mind is at rest.