Welcome to the latest Weekly Creativity Thread.
This week, in a number of places on CCS, discussions have come around to the still and quiet times of our creative lives.
Whether they are lulls and peaks over a project, a day, a season, or the whole year, it's a subject that I think has plenty of potential for further exploration here.
So, three questions to start your mind pondering...
1. Do you set aside specific times for stillness? This can include mediation, contemplation, daydreaming, and anything else where you're not highly engaged in a task, and can let your mind relax and wander.
2. Have you experienced a seasonal kind of stillness? This might be connected with nature's seasons (a winter hibernation, a spring awakening and so on) or your own body and mind's natural cycles. Do you let the stillness come, go with it, and enjoy the experience, or do you try to resist and fight it?
3. In your experience, what kind of creativity has emerged from stillness? How is this different to the ideas and work that arises from trying to create in the midst of busyness?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the creativity in stillness...
Can you do these at home Susan? Or did you go somewhere specifically for it?
the retreat was at a local church that my spiritual advisor is a minister at. she holds them one to three times a year.
lots of love from susan
Nancy, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I wondered why there were so few people writing here, I thought this would be a potentially rich topic for conversation.
I like what you say about rest and focus at the same time. This is what I feel about yoga. I have a quietness that the movement brings, and at the same time it tends to be where I compose ideas for articles and so on. My mind is in a very calm place, but it's certainly not still, it's very active with ideas. Then when I follow up with meditation right after, that's when my mind is far more still, and I focus on a single thought or process. It's a great combination, and what you just said helped remind me of that.
It's fascinating to read about how you (and so many people) are seasonal like this. More fascinating to me because I really don't change that much all year round. I enjoy each season (of nature) for what it offers - even more so recently as I'm taking far more photos. The only time I possibly create a little less is, like you, if I gets too hot in Summer. I hate being too hot, and find it really draining.
Dan, Many people I know find the stillness topic challenging. people thrive on being as busy as they can and don't like to look at times of stillness. I know I used to find it very hard in the past but embrace it now
lots of love from susan in australia
I forget that Susan, thanks for the reminder!
I love stillness and quiet, not only in itself, but also because it makes the busier times more enjoyable too. Each enhances the other. I was just thinking about this during yoga this morning, and sketching out an article...
Very apt (and short!) post today from Keith Jennings whose blog I've greatly enjoyed in recent weeks -
This is a weakness for me. I kind of have needs for communing with nature where I go out to the farm with the huge lake and attempt to fill it with rocks in attempt to skip them across. in those moments I reflect in a stillness to let nature clear my mind. I also do a yearly pilgramage to Tybee Island to sit for hours to cleanse my mind and spirit, just the sensory of the whole experience is renewing. But I want to learn to mediate, to allow the same stillness to happen without traveling to a different place. My restlessness could benefit from a daily mediation session. My back-to-nature moments center me and remove what i call the "worldliness" from me. I see a need and will be addressing it. Great thread to ponder.
If you are really restless, you could try a moving meditation like Qigong or even a walking meditation style. Meditation does not require sitting still, it only requires getting completely present. You can meditate while you prepare dinner if the thing you are working on (such as peeling potatoes) is where your attention is completely focused.
Obviously getting out into nature helps tremendously in getting centred and present, as it is full of new stimulus which captures the mind to see the present moment, but every day things can also do the same thing.
I agree with so much of what you've said Nancy. I was thinking for me, getting out and walking in nature is a meditation.
And yes, things we do every day, like washing dishes or cooking, can be incredibly meditative in their wholesome simplicity...
Thanks! I have not heard of Qigong. Going to look into it. I just know I really need to learn to have just one thought or may be more so no thoughts because my mind races. When cooking or washing dishes it seems thats when the phone rings or something comes up. THis week i will make a priority to check into Qigong.
One thing about meditation which seems to be hugely misunderstood is that the mind should be emptied, when in fact thoughts will still arise throughout meditation. The difference is in how you respond to what comes up. Observe the thought and then let it pass. It is in dwelling on the thought that you get caught in it and move into future or past thinking. No one can stop their mind from thinking and when you try to you go into resistance and give the thought even greater power. If your mind races... so be it.... just observe the thoughts passing through without judging them as anything, neither their content nor the fact that they arose at all.
It takes practice to just pay attention to right now...now....now.....now... without judgement and let everything else go.
I hope you can find a good Qigong instructor... it is a very relaxing and active focus meditation practice.
Again, I agree with all you say Nancy. A simple analogy that helped me was imagining our thoughts are like a stream passing by. By meditating we're simply choosing to sit by the edge of the stream and notice that's it's flowing by, and will continue to flow by. If we try to get in the stream and dam it up (ie stop our thoughts) the water will just build and burst through the dam anyway...