There is the patter of rain on the windows and roof, I am settled into my seat, lemon water at my side and my tummy rumbling for a sweet treat – I keep cookies in my desk drawer for these occasions. I am feeling good – processed. I recently missed an opportunity that I thought might be for me. It was disappointing and I allowed myself to wallow yesterday. I needed a day to be angry and frustrated. Today, I needed to get into flow, so I painted.
An easel sits across from me in my office. It typically holds a painting that I am working on or a blank canvas waiting to be filled. Today the paint and my ideas flowed. I am feeling quite satisfied to have created something I know to be beautiful and believe to be good. I also have had the idea to ask the local frame shop if on Friday afternoons I might paint in their front window – possibly to draw customers in and hopefully sell a few of my pieces. It might be fun and it is something that occurred to me as I painted.
That’s the beauty of creative work, it frees the mind to wander. And gives space to let the imagination roam. There’s actually a pile of research on the benefits of somewhat mindless activities like painting. These tasks help us get into slower brain waves that bring us into flow and help us to make connections in our brains more efficiently. When our brains are in the state of flow we’re able to bring together a variety of ideas to create a new and unique solution. To learn more about the research I would encourage you to read The Art of Impossible by Steve Kotler.
When I create I get to consider imaginary situations, topics that I have thoughts on but haven’t had the time to process. For me painting is meditative. When I am in the midst of my work it is easy to loose track of time. I feel completely absorbed in the best way possible, choosing colors, creating patterns or destroying them. It is powerful and empowering to simply focus on my work and what I want to do next. Painting frees me to finally think clearly. It gives me a fun medium in which I can make mistakes or change my mind and the consequences are minimal. It is freeing and makes my soul sing.
Whatever you do today I hope you give yourself some space to create. I notice that when I don’t make room in my life to act on my inspirations I feel cranky and stifled. Why make ourselves miserable for no reason? With that in mind I am grateful and excited to see what beauty we create in the world next. For now I’m focusing on this canvas and what colors and images come next. It’s a very good day, I hope yours is too!