Powering Down or Why Doing Nothing is Great
Creative Endeavors Need Space!
Any creative endeavor - whether it's finding a new way to make a better brownie or designing that next great car requires an empty vessel/brain/room/canvas/kitchen/lab. For whatever analogy you would like to make, you need room to think clearly without any added clutter. There are many possible solutions to a problem and the answer is usually hiding in plain sight So here's what I do to get to that state. I turn all distractions off and sit quietly and let my thoughts bubble up from my subconscious to my conscious mind. I enjoy the morning before I go to work with a perfect cup of coffee and at night I sit quietly for a couple of minutes, take a shower then go to bed. Sometimes I play classic jazz music. This puts me in a state of flow that I personally need to recharge. Do whatever suits you to get yourself in that state of flow.
A State of Flow
Athletes know what I am talking about and so do musicians. That state of flow when everything moves together into this perfect moment. In basketball, there are a million things going on around a player and a million people screaming but somehow a basketball player knows exactly where to place his feet and knows just when to pivot to make that perfect shot. You don't even think about it, you just do it automatically.
To me, musicians are the wizards of the creative arts. You don't see many tense musicians especially as they mature. Musicians usually don't have a rigid schedule. Can you imagine if Robin Trower said okay Bridge of Sighs has to be exactly 2:50 seconds long!? Musicians have their own inner clock which ticks to it's own sweet time. The irony here is this: the less you try to be creative, the more creative you will become. That is where the importance of doing nothing comes in. Do absolutely nothing for a moment and something creative will swim over to your subconscious.
Painting is similar. Believe it or not, I usually do not start with a plan when I am painting. My way of getting into the flow is random mark making. I keep doing this and shapes and a composition begin to emerge. It is as if I am scratching at the surface of my subconscious, I am in the flow. A successful painting requires knowledge of your subject. I do spend a lot of time just studying things, especially how they look in a space. I sketch often to become familiar with an object/subject and to understand it's unique characteristics. When I go to paint, these images I have studied emerge in the composition. Nothing is forced.
Being More Human by Being More Like an Animal
Animals in the wild are successful at what they do and are at their highest functioning level because they do not have artificial stimulus interrupting their natural instincts. Animals sleep when they're tired, play when they feel the urge, and hunt whenever needed. They have never needed an alarm clock, smart phone or daily planner to get done what needs to be done. If you shut out all the ambient noise and distractions that surround you every day, how successful would you be? Could you answer one simple question: what were you put on this earth to do and are you moving towards that calling? Try quiet time each evening before you go to sleep. Maybe, have a little ritual of putting your house in order, or, clearing your desk or the dishes off of the table. The ritual of clearing a space clears your mind. Take a few deep breaths and reflect how lucky you are to be alive.
What did I do Before the Internet
There are a lot of ways to make money on the internet. I am an artist and there are multiple websites to upload work to. I am on two currently, redbubble.com and fineartamerica.com. I have some new work I would like to upload, but for technical reasons, I cannot do this easily. My computer is older and I don't have photoshop installed on it. At first I was really frustrated because I was trying to make money doing this. Then I asked myself; what did people do before the internet and more importantly what did I do before the internet? Well, of course, I contacted gallery owners by letter, appointments or phone calls and I made sales that way and it was very gratifying to show my work even if I didn't get a sale.
What I'm getting at is I don't think we need to be plugged in as much as we think we need to be and after a while, we lose the ability to think deeply because everything is available 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. I think this hampers creativity and peacefulness. When is the last time you pulled out a map when you were trying to find some out of the way place or did you consult your cell phone? What if you were out of range to get cell phone reception? Would you know how to read a map, would you have one handy? I really don't think it will ever happen, but sometimes I think newspapers and roadmaps will go the way of the dinosaurs!
Why Weekends Were Created!
Who doesn't love sleeping in on a Saturday, with no obligations whatsoever? This is your body powered down. In my humble opinion weekends are not for doing more, they're for doing nothing in particular except whatever suits your whimsy.
Down time is an unsung hero in the modern world. Maybe contemplation should be part of everyone's day. Think about one amazing thing each day and your frenzied mind will soon stop spinning. I love the majestic quiet beauty of snow, how the flakes float down like stars from heaven. This is extraordinary to me. What is extraordinary to you?