Introducing Stage Six in the Creativity Journey – Rest and Listen
Perhaps you’re in need of rest too. This creativity journey and life in general can be exhausting. We live in a culture of busyness. It’s a badge of honor to always be busy, to be too busy to enjoy long conversations with friends, nights off from our devices, or even our vacations. In the United States especially, the drive to always be moving forward and pushing West is built into our national psyche and with computers in our pockets, we can always be active. For creativity to flourish however, quiet, unstructured time is absolutely essential.
There is a lot for you to do on your creativity journey. You are playing, experimenting, and trying new things. You are questioning, evaluating, and assessing. But just as important as the time you spend doing is the time you spend NOT doing. Your authentic self and the Muse both speak with quiet voices initially and you must spend some time in stillness to hear them.
Day dreaming, musing, pondering, wondering and questioning are key parts of the creative process and they don’t happen, they can’t happen, when your mind is engaged in other things. You needn’t spend a month in an ashram or hours in meditation at home, but you do need to allow for down time. When you walk away from your desk and leave your projects behind, your mind pulls back from them as well. But the computer in your brain keeps running processes in the background; it’s sorting, sifting, and connecting, which is why you can often return to your work with a fresh perspective, new ideas and solutions to problems. It’s no surprise that a habit common to some of history’s greatest artists, inventors, philosophers, and writers is a daily walk.
Quiet time away also gives you “peace of mind” and it is into this stillness that you will hear your authentic voice and the voice of the Muse. Neither your authentic self nor the Muse will shout to be heard. I guess they assume that what they have to tell you is so valuable that you should be interested in hearing it and that if you’re too busy to pay attention, that’s your loss. They are not going to scream at you over the show you’ve been binge-watching or wedge their way into the grocery list playing through your mind. They wait patiently for you to be quiet and ready to listen. And they can wait patiently for years or decades until you are ready. So at this stage in your journey, begin to build in some quiet time into your practice. It doesn’t have to be hours, nor does it have to be all at once, but start listening for the Muse. Your time spent day dreaming will not be time wasted at all. In fact, it may just be the most important thing you do all day.
Want to join others on the journey with you? Come to the Creativity Explorers Club on Facebook.