“In this media-drenched, data-rich, channel-surfing, computer-gaming age, we have lost the art of doing nothing, of shutting out the background noise and distractions, of slowing down and simply being alone with our thoughts.”
While I am not a fan of channel surfing, I am a computer gamer. One of my favorites is World of Warcraft. Many WoW players balked at the Mists of Pandaria expansion, calling it silly. But as a practitioner of martial arts (once upon a time in my history), I really loved it. And every time one of those big, round Panda people said, “Sloooow down. Life is to be savored!” it gave me pause. It made me think.
I do know without reading the book that the points in the review speak directly to me. I am a better, more prolific writer when I have time to defocus myself. I spent some time in 2011 working through The Artist’s Way, and my favorite part of that process was the concept of the Artist Date. These are times when you take yourself out to relax and play. It’s not huge, nor does it have to be costly. One of my artist dates consisted of lying beneath a tree in the grass and listening to the wind. During another, I wandered alone through antique shops, wondering at the history of the trinkets that adorned the shelves.
It’s difficult in this world and age to convince others – and even yourself – of the artist’s need for solitude and reflection. It’s difficult to fit in those moments of peace, cramming them between day jobs, kid schedules, meals, housework, partners and friends.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at keeping up on my commitment to my Artist Dates. But I do try, occasionally, to fit one in. And when I do take that time, I find my creativity right where I left it: brimming below the buzz of modern life, just waiting to be heard.
This week, I urge all of my artist friends to Slow down! because Life is to be savored! Enjoy doing nothing, even if for just a few moments each day.
- Make a cup of tea, and sip it with your eyes closed, savoring the flavor.
- Walk around the block with no goal other than to take as long as possible in the task. Notice each blade of grass, new spring blossom and tiny insect.
- Sit in silence. If you have kids, have them participate. It might turn into a fit of giggles. Go with it and enjoy the laughter.
- Take out some colored pencils and don’t direct your hand. Just scribble on a blank page.
- Hold hands with your partner in a quiet room after the kids have gone to bed. Be still together. No talking. No TV. Just silence in the presence of one another.
What will you do to honor the stillness inside of yourself?