As Tharp says, this is not about meditation and clearing your mind, but rather the idea of being aware and inviting the ideas in your mind to surface and be acknowledged. This is one exercise that Tharp proposes one try using duration, increasing the length of trial each time. I will be starting with one minute and increasing by 2 minutes each week of the study. I will keep posting results on this one post. Eventually the early trials will be at the bottom and most recent trials directly under this introduction. This exercise also fits well with a great book I recently read called Teach, Breathe, Learn by Meena Srinivasan. It is a wonderful resource for teachers to bring social and personal skill development to the classroom.
Nine Minute Trials
Minds, they go so many directions so quickly. Makes me want to study what it is that gets us to follow through on a line of thought to resulting action. Is it previous reward triggers? Subbing a lot in SPED where there is much talk of Stiming or Stimulating behaviors it makes me feel we must all be SPED. Everyone seems to do things that they believe will bring them pleasure. But if that’s true, how do people find new adventures? The SPED students that I see replay and replay a small portion of video clip they like… makes me wonder how to they find new video clips to attach to? There must be something to trigger variety that is different than what triggers soothing. Is it that we get propelled into new things when we go along with a friend to places they like or do what they enjoy? What about when we do something on our own that we just have some unknown internal push to try. Like when I decided to go study in Scotland or Panama? It’s confusing how there are so many variables to any one action. I may be thinking about reading, checking my stocks, or writing my mind wander. Then I quick check my stocks because I think it could distract me from my mind wander. I set aside my desire to read because I’ve already read quite a bit today and I start my mind wander because I know I need to do this.
It’s hard to believe I’ve already been in a creative habit for over a month now. It seems to be going along surprisingly smoothly. More smoothly than I would have expected, but I’m still probably not accomplishing as much as I would like to. I’m trying though to not be too hard on myself because I heard a teacher of the year of Alaska speak once and she said she just tries to add one new thing at a time and once she feels she gets that one new thing into her flow of life, then she starts on a new one. That seems reasonable. Here I am trying to do research, blog and be creative in a number of avenues and thread it all into my existing life which had none of these factors much recently. So I have to acknowledge I’m probably making more progress than in apparent to me on the surface. This blog itself is a thing I should probably be proud of. Done at 8:33pm time to do my 10 yr journal for 10 Min as my trigger.
**Realization that the self initiated triggers I picked for this trial are things that I mostly already do that give me a sense of accomplishment or enjoyment. Maybe a good opening task for anyone who wants to be more creative is to start with a small 10 min thing that helps put them in a positive mind state or helps them feel they are on the right track/ accomplishing already in a short time so they feel they can accomplish more. Because just now I thought, uh, i don’t really feel like journaling, and I heard myself tell myself that I’d already accomplished much by posting, and posting, and doing this, so surely I could just do a little more.
don’t fart around.. well fart around sometimes if you need a brain break, but always stay aware that your time can be valuable if you let it. YOLO is true. Make it count. I am finding that if I start the endeavor right when I think of it…do the blog post, dance, make the cake… whatever it is, it gets done that much sooner and propels me onto the next stage. But the more aimlessly I wander the more I branch off on another wander and quickly two hours are gone and I haven’t done what I set out to do. Sometimes wandering is valuable, maybe I updated my goodreads list that I haven’t attended to for quite some time or stumbled onto some great reading list that will inspire me in the future. And in that way it’s good to do what you feel at the time. But it should always be with awareness. Awareness of time… maybe, awareness of life as a gift you are using in the present, always. I am finding that this study by making me more aware of time by virtue of self-study has helped me to try to utilize it more effectively more often. I am planning ahead with my boyfriend designing little adventures for ourselves. Partly because we need breaks to look forward to, but these things might actually happen less often if we had more time available. I want to be more structured with my life even in the times I don’t have to be so that I make my time and efforts count. Luckily I am already a non-TV owner, and am not a big movie goer. Maybe I should analyze more things in my life that are not adding value and that I can actively work to decrease. Goals and lists help me to be more effective too. Wunderlist has been a great tool and I’m so grateful to Taylor for his suggestion on that. Right now I’m thankful to Ms. O’Connor for teaching us the non-stop writing technique so that we keep going and contributing even when we feel we don’t have a thing to say, because just writing that you have no thoughts will lead to another thought, just don’t let the pen stop.. So maybe the larger idea is don’t drop the ball, just keep bouncing along and you are bound to come up with something worthwhile eventually.
Seven minute trials
Recent Realizations of Things that help me be creative:
Being aware of Time- starting to feel like I’m using time more effectively because of this awareness
Getting my basic needs out of the way: noticing that before starting to be creative I’m more settled if I have eaten, have water at hand, clean up around/ prepare space, use the restroom
Having my documentation tools at hand: Pro camera & notebook
Not having more than one notebook, so everything gets recorded in the same place
Having a good system for archiving
Having an outlet point for various types of creative endeavors
Awareness of moments in everyday life that I am already being creative, helps me realize I’m more creative than my self image had been.
(moment of pause w/ 2 min remain)
Taking notes/ the process of self study itself is helping me see patterns of triggers/ timing and ideas to note or come back to.
Having an audience increases accountability and helps me set goals or want to continue
Having digital storage space available
Five minute trials
Having just read a bit of Make it Mighty Ugly, it was a light bulb hearing her say that she never knew she was a writer, but discovering that fact, (I’m not sure quite how she discovered it), changed her life. Last night I shared a bit of my poetry online. I’ve never really shared any of it before. BUt it got positive responses, and I told my boyfriend and he said yea, your poetry is very good. And I was surprised. Maybe I will share more, maybe I will try to write more. Although poetry really seems like a thing for me that sneaks up and grabs me, asks to be written. I never know what is on my mind until it unfurls itself on the paper, and I read it back to myself and say “Oh, yes, I guess I do feel that way” I know everyone works differently, but for me it’s amazing how little I know about myself until I start talking to someone else, or writing or making art. I often learn and see things about myself I didn’t know were already there, just waiting to rise to consciousness. It’s a little scary in a way to think I may not know myself well. BUt then rather reassuring to realize it is reachable, I just need to be open and giving time to it’s development.
These mind wanders are starting to get easier, I’m starting to make them part of what I look forward to, maybe that’s a key to making a habit, doing something enough that you start to enjoy it enough that it triggers your brain to follow through when you consider doing it.
excited to think up ideas for this teaching tips course I may teach at the Folk School, interesting and different kind of class than I’ve ever given.
Glad mom and dad are enjoying their Hawaii months, think they are really happy there and should go back again, but change is good too.
6:30 is too early to wake up still. guess I’m not that old, or waking earlier may be appealing
I like this subbing deal. Working just days I choose is great, also gives me the flexibility to take on other work or teach more at the Folk School.
I wonder where we will live after August.
Need to think of an alternative sleeping pad option for the angel creek overnight ski trip
Being productive feels good, also sort of exhausting. I think research and learning time as well as editing time need to be considered when framing out creative time in one’s life. Access to materials immediately also make a big difference. All my paints are down in Delta, so I haven’t painted at all and won’t til I get down there Feb. 24th.
It’s important to listen to what comes naturally. Sometimes I get that tick, little trigger when I know I’m doing something that’s no good for me. Hawaii was great for flow. Being peaceful and relaxed really helps me to be aware in the moment, and create more by fun feel than by force or what I think I should do. It’s been hard not being hard on myself if I miss a day of mind wander, which I did a lot last week, and just realize that is then, this is now and I can start anew everyday. There is no point to past regret- wasted time. It’s great having written ideas down, now I have a source point when I want to start a new creative venture. Started jewelry-making again on Thursday I think. It’s been a while, feels nice to be looking at materials again. I need to really dig through them to get inspired about how to combine. Sometimes I put so much time in and just don’t like it, but that’s ok too. As Edison said, you also learn from the failures.
Three minute trials
Should find a place to post my photography, after week two need to spend time b4 week three making space on my hard drive. Excited to work with the Fairbanks Folk School, they seem like great people. Check with Doug about which type of clay and quantity to order. Can Toni do a earth fire w/ kids if she’s aiding? Need to improve the layout still and understand how pages works on Word Press, need a blank page or just network to outside links? Ask T. Look through photos to consider to start an image based painting- need to buy more canvas, want to make a printmaking screen too.
One minute trials
awareness in a way can lengthen time
of all things what would I want to do before leaving the earth. happiness, joy just spread it
170120 (Missed this day)
Tired, time is hard to keep when starting creative process- don’t naturally think of time as I start
sink dripping, funny thing for a dry cabin
visualize counter clockwise swirl,
then within that a clockwise swirl
listen to the fan of the heater -comfortable sound
think of my phone
realize it is hard remembering all my thoughts when not writing simultaneously like last time, will probably record in moment next time.
-9 may be too late
-want to revive my drawing skills
-want to work on Grad Gator entry
-want to make mind map of ideas to pursue during this study