“It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each [day] habitualizes it – makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I [will] skip it or do it differently . . . when you [follow daily rituals], they impel you to get started. Whether it’s the act of carrying a hot coffee mug to an outdoor porch, or the rock’n’roll that gets a painter revved up to splash color on a canvas, or the stillness of an herb garden that puts a chef in a culinary trance, moving inside each of these routines gives you no choice but to do something. It’s Pavlovian: follow the routine, get a creative payoff.” –Twyla Tharp in The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
Each of us is the curator of our lives. It is purposeful that I use the analogy of how we live our lives to one who organizes, displays, presents, understands and fully appreciates art. The grand myth that only certain people are creative has been unfortunately accepted as fact, when it is not indeed true. Creativity resides in all of us; it is simply a matter of listening to what is speaking within us.
Being creative doesn’t mean everyone is to be a painter, but rather perhaps an architect who designs homes for their clients, the teacher who crafts engaging lesson plans, the chef that concocts a new recipe to try for dinner or the hostess who plans a delightful dinner for her guests. Creativity is the zhush we apply to our lives – the special touches that no one else can create in our very unique way except for us; and therefore, we are indeed all capable of being creative.
While reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, one ingredient she writes about is the importance of daily rituals which prompt our creative ideas to come to the forefront of our many whirling thoughts.
Specifically how does simply getting out of bed at a certain time, saying a particular prayer or engaging in certain physical stretches provoke one’s creativity?
- Eliminates the question of what you are doing and why
- Instills a sense of certainty which eliminates doubt
- Lessens the difficulty that comes with taking the first steps as you begin a new project in which the outcome is unknown
- One less thing to think about, thus freeing your mind
Whether your ritual is having a certain blend of coffee in the morning at a particular time with absolute silence while you read the morning news or going for a run in the morning to calm your mind so it is free from guilt after having exercised, think about when your most creative thoughts or activities have come to your mind in the past. What were you doing just prior to that event?
For me, it’s when I can enjoy a leisurely cup of tea without worrying about the time. When these two simple events collide, my thoughts start to spark and I can’t grab a pen, pencil or keyboard fast enough.
Perhaps before you start your day at work you need to listen to a certain song or have ten minutes alone to collect yourself. Whatever rituals you choose to include in your life, make sure:
- To keep it simple – getting out of bed at a certain time, turning on the hot water for tea or coffee, stepping out the door for a walk or meditating for two minutes – these are the simple rituals that propel you forward toward something that you wish to create
- To find a ritual that frees your mind – becomes something you do without thought
- It prompts you to do or become more of the person you wish to be
- It is a habit that is part of the foundation for living your best life
Ultimately, it is how we spend the minutes and hours of our days that reveals how we will spend the rest of our lives. Choose to include one or two rituals in your daily routine that help propel you in the direction toward your dreams. Once you begin to incorporate daily rituals, they will become habits that your brain doesn’t have to get exercised about. And as you make these positive practices habits, more and more ideas will begin to flow more freely which will enrich your life.
Have a wonderful Monday everyone.
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