I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one, but I can tell you anyhow, I rather see than be one.
So many times, as we enter adulthood, we pack away our memories of childhood and our “childish” ways, including our imagination, creativity, and curiosity. So many times, there is just not time in the face of adult responsibilities for imagination, creativity, and curiosity.
“Nonsense!” I say.
Imagination allows us to see all of the different ways to solve problems. Imagination fills in the gaps between ideas and the words on the page. Imagination fuels artists, a writers, musicians, and dancers, and if we are NOT one of them, it gives us the ability to appreciate their work.
Creativity shows up in our cooking or in how we have placed the furniture and decorations around our house. Creativity shows up in the clothing we select for the day and the decorations we add to it.
Curiosity allows us to look at something and ask, “What if?” Curiosity allows us to wonder if a news story or article represents the facts, and by wondering, we research to find the truth.
When you reached a certain age, did you pack up your imagination, creativity, and curiosity?
Did it disappear when someone squashed or criticized your imagination, creativity, and curiosity in you youth?
What does matter is what you do about your imagination, creativity, and curiosity now?
I see so many people posting on social media how bored they are with the “shelter-in-place” orders, the self-quarantine responsibility, and the lack of something to do other than “bing-watch” episodes of specific shows.
On the other hand,
I see people using their imagination and creativity to
- bring you Appalachian Spring by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra playing their parts in their own homes. (Check it out HERE.)
- perform a cell phone choir performance by Nashville studio singers. (Check it out HERE.)
- bring you a Living Room Concert hosted by Elton John with Alicia Keyes, Billie Eilish, and Mariah Carey. (This aired Sunday, March 29 @ 8:00 pm central time.)
- move people to connect even though most of us are practicing self-quarantining and social distancing. Heart Hunters was a social media created group that wanted to give parents something to do while out for walks with their kids. It asked people to put hearts in their windows and doors so that the kids could look for them and count them. It has grown into so much more than a kid thing. (Check out Heart Hunters HERE.)
When self-quarantining, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders have been lifted, we will hopefully go back to some semblance of the kind of life we knew. (But then again, who knows.)
No matter how old you are or why imagination, creativity, and curiosity are not in your daily life, you can unpack them and breathe life back into them. Now is the perfect time to do it. Here’s how.
My mother taught me how to doodle. Well, not by actual instruction, but by my observations: she doodled on the church bulletin on Sundays, she doodled on the back of old dittos while she talked on the phone or waited on hold, and she doodled in the margins of the newspaper while she was reading it.
Is it any wonder that many of my high school and college class notes had doodles in the margins? Is it any wonder that my faculty meeting notes and handouts had doodles in the margins and on the backs?
I don’t know about you but television is getting boring. In fact, in the last several years, I have just kept it on for noise when the silence gets too loud.
Instead of being “tuned in” for all your waking hours, try reading a short story or novel.
When you read a novel, you can let your mind create the cinema magic of the words on the page. The words transport you to another place and another time.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE
You get up. You take a shower. You get dressed. You have coffee with the same breakfast every morning. The routine is the same day in and day out.
Change the routine.
No, I’m not suggesting that you get dressed before you take your shower, but in my case, because the dogs have to go out, that is precisely what I do. (NOTE: I don’t take a shower with my clothes on.)
You drive the same route to and from work. Change it up. Maybe not on the way to work, but definitely on the way home.
For example, one of my favorite route changes when I was teaching led me through the nearby forest preserve. Our subdivision sat across from a forest preserve, so on especially beautiful or stressful days, I would turn into the preserve and drive through before going home.
PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS OR GRANDKIDS
When my kids were young, I loved playing Legos and other things with them. The things they could create with their imagination. It was energizing sitting on the floor with them and forgetting the cares of the world for an hour or so on any given day.
TAKE A WALK AND LET YOUR MIND WANDER
Sometimes one of the best ways to get the mind back to an imaginative, creative, and curious state is to walk outside, take a walk, and observe nature. Breathe in the air. Soak up a bit of sunshine. Clear your mind of all the things that are stressing you out.
EXPLORE YOUR CREATIVE SIDE
Pull out some colored pencils, crayons, or markers. Pull out an old coloring book (or adult coloring book). Color the cow purple and the grass pink.
Take a class (online right now) in something you know very little about. For me, I am reading and researching about Tennessee at the end of the Civil War.
ALLOW THE ‘WHAT IF’S’ TO POP UP
“What if’s” don’t have to focus on the negative. I was playing the “What if” idea in my writing studio this morning. “What if” I moved my desk in front of the windows again? And then, I answered myself about why I moved it away in the first place.
- What if I planted flowers this year instead of herbs?
- What if I watched a different television program?
- What if I spent an evening coloring?
Yup, it is DEFINITELY time to unpack your imagination, creativity, and curiosity and let them stretch their wings.
Let me know what you are doing that is imaginative, creative, and how you are letting your curiosity get some exercise.
For further exploration on imagination, creativity, and curiosity, you can check out these two articles:
Creativity: A Definition (Note: When I changed website hosts, the pictures didn’t follow and I have yet to figure out which flash drive contains them.)