“Perhaps we’re moving too fast to be inspired by what’s around us. Our news, entertainment and learning are fed to us in increasingly smaller bites, which we thoughtlessly consume, each bite replaced by the next. We need time to make and time to pause and appreciate, but our rush to assimilate more impoverishes us spiritually and intellectually, and robs us of a deep connection with the world.” Marian Bantjes, I Wonder (New York, 2010), 29-30.
I didn’t set any goals this year.
Besides of course, my “Live a Creative Life” resolution.
I feel like I reached a point in my personal progression where instead of wanting more and to be more, and do more, that I really wanted to turn that all around!
I wanted less.
I wanted less chaos. Less noise. Less junk and clutter in my life.
Less information overload.
Less digital distraction.
I counted up the daily average number of hours that I spent on the computer a few weeks ago. It added up to 7 hours! SEVEN HOURS! And all but about 3 hours are unncessary.
There is this sneaky little addiction that tells my mind that I need to “Keep up! Keep up with what is going on! How can you be a successful artist and person if you’re not aware of everything that is happening around you?! How will you get inspired and have creative thoughts without pinterest, blogs, and facebook, (gasp!) What if you miss something!!!!”
Yet, when I really stop and ask myself, ARE YOU REALLY INSPIRED WHEN YOU SOAK ALL DAY LONG IN VIRTUAL LAND?
The answer is always NO.
When do I feel most inspired?
- When I’m reading a book. A book allows for greater exploration of a thought than a blogpost.
- When I’m riding my bike or walking (unplugged). I’m outside and my mind clears with the rhythm of moving and my mind finally has a chance to think of nothing at all. And yet, thinking of nothing at all suddenly makes room for the best thoughts to have a presence.
- When I journal quietly in the morning before anyone else is awake. I write by hand so I can’t check email or click a link, and then another, and then another. Writing by hand means its just me, my thoughts, and the quiet house.
- When I’m really present in the moment with my family. We’re playing the piano and singing. Making music instead of just listening to it. Reading books instead of watching movies. Laughing at each other instead of laughing at a screen.
- When I’m really creating. Improvising on the piano. Taking pictures of my family. Making a meal from scratch. Making something with my hands. Writing my thoughts.
None of those things are fast.
In fact, every last one of them is slow in comparison to the digital world.
Our minds must have time to process information. They must have time to experience. They must have time to draw conclusions, and build upon those conclusions.
Living a creative life is about living slow enough for inspiration to work inside us. Its about taking time to implement the info.
Its sort of like the difference of fast food dinner that is served through the window of your car and eating a home cooked meal that took two hours to make.
Things that require little to no effort on our part will never nourish or produce the same results.
I can read blog after blog, pin after pin, link after link. The only effort on my part is clicking and skimming. I appease the appetite for a moment, but I’m hungry again soon after.
Or I could actually create some of those pinned items. Implement the new photo tip. Try out the suggested business improvements. Make the new recipe. Change my routine. Read the suggested book.
There’s no question which one will bring greater and more lasting results.
But slowing down is hard! Its a choice. Its a lifestyle. Its effort. Its discipline.
How do YOU do it? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Her favorite way to slow down usually involves food. Swiss Chocolate and a dark quiet room and comfortable chair in absolute solitude. Only one piece. Because really, this is an exercise in slowness and savoring!
Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.
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