My daughter is 8 months old and hasn’t yet seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted anything boring or uninteresting. Everything she is presented with, it is as if she is experiencing it for the first time. True, there are many firsts for her. Also true is that her favorite “toy” for the past two weeks has been the same toothbrush. Each time she finds it or is handed it, she checks it out anew. Seeing the colors. Running her fingers over the surfaces. Tasting the bristles (well, all of it actually). When is the last time you were fascinated (or even mildly interested) by a toothbrush?
And yet there is much to be interested in. Where do the bristles come from? What are they made of? Why bristles? How do I even know the word “bristles?” How do they get the bristles into the plastic? Why don’t they come out?
This is an example of the aptly named Zen teaching of “child’s mind” or “beginner’s mind.” It is something most of us experience far too seldom. Imagine the possibilities if everything was possible. Fresh. Novel. How much excitement, change, and creativity might this bring to your life?
Ever wonder why your best ideas come to you in the shower? Or while you are out walking the dog?
It is at least partially due to the connection with nature you experience during these times.
The water in your shower is enough of a connection to spark creativity.
The fresh air and exercise on your walk is enough to shift your perspective.
These little doses offer a glimpse of what connecting with nature has to offer.
Try going to a national park, isolated beach, or mountain summit and see what the full dosage has to offer you.
Feeling stagnant? Stuck in a rut? Experiencing writer’s block? Waiting for the last minute?
Try getting out in nature. While you are there, focus on the feelings of peacefulness, content, bliss, and wonder that spontaneously arise in you.
And if these feelings don’t arise, get out in nature more.
If you do, chances are you’ll find yourself more relaxed, energized, and creative.
Evidence? I wrote this and the next three posts this morning – after hiking all day yesterday.
The trick is to immerse yourself in nature. If you go solely for the purpose of stimulating creativity and spend the entire time stuck in your head, you’ll probably be frustrated.
If you are able to go and relax and appreciate nature, chances are you’ll find yourself able to look at things from a new perspective, with new possibilities, when you return home and your mind naturally shifts back to the problems you are working on.
The Art of Possibility is an interesting collaboration between a husband and wife who are a symphony conductor and therapist, respectively. This results in a fascinating look at creativity, the change process, and unique approaches to performance and life. The initial chapter sets the tone for the book, utilizing historical and biological evidence to demonstrate that “It’s all invented.” This means that there is no objective reality, and our minds create a story to make sense of the information we receive from the environment. Once you realize that your story is an invention, it becomes possible to create a story that you feel good about. This simple yet liberating idea holds great promise for your performance and well-being.
What story can you create to facilitate confidence? Motivation? Happiness? Satisfaction? Fulfillment?
It’s your story, make it a good one.