Saturday, July 7, 2012

23/365: What Goes On Up There In That Head of Yours?

Today I made:

more time and space for my creative mind to play...

In finding ways to make creativity a daily part of my life, I've been doing a great deal of contemplation about how to organize and make the best use of my creative time and space. I walked my dog after dinner tonight, with the intention of going straight to work in my art space afterwards. The time was all blocked off and the space was clean and ready for a fresh start...
But instead, I spent 15 minutes agonizing (complete with pacing around my living room and mumbling under my breath) over the rude lady who cursed at me because my dog barked at her dog.

That was obviously not time well spent, but catching myself in the act was a good thing. This is one of those slap in the face epiphanies that I'm glad I had, but I must admit, it stings a little. I realized I spend a pretty ridiculous amount of time dwelling on things that are negative to my well-being and unproductive to my efforts to live a more joyful and fulfilled life. Just this afternoon I spent another chunk of time fretting about whether I'll be able to pay my bills and guilting myself over not accomplishing more on my to-do list. Nothing positive or worthwhile was created from that use of my mental time and space, and I cannot get that time back! I'm supposed to have control over this mind of mine, am I not? Why on earth would I waste creative brain power on something that doesn't serve me or my purpose?

 This got me thinking, aside from managing my schedule and my physical creative space, I really need to get a handle on how I organize and make the best use of my mental time and space if I want to optimize my creativity. I have a very active brain, and when it's not given ways to keep itself busy, it will find its own ways. (I do not approve of some of them.) I am realizing that worry and guilt, among other negative mental constructs, are not productive ways to use my mental down time. How we choose to design our mental landscape and fill the time and space between our ears is so valuable to our well-being as creators and humans!

There are definitely times when the task at hand deserves our complete focus and attention, but replaying stale scenarios, dwelling on the past or worrying about the future often keeps us from living the present moment to its fullest. There are countless things that get my undeserved attention at any given moment throughout the day, even when I'm not actually doing them because my mind likes to plan and analyze every situation to death. Today I'm making some changes: If I'm not currently tackling my to-do list, I will let it rest on the paper until it's time to check off tasks. If I'm not in the act of paying my bills, there's no sense in dreading the balancing of the check book. If I catch myself worrying over something that is out of my control at that given moment, I will put a stop to it. How? Ah, that's the fun part! I will replace it with something creatively productive!

I'm going to take full advantage of my mental time and space when I'm on autopilot (this is the time that my brain usually turns to restless thoughts), like when I'm doing house work, running errands, showering or jogging. (This will also come in handy on long walks when people are slinging insults at me and my overly vocal pup; I'll be too far off in my own little world to hear them.) If I don't need to be 100% mentally present, why not use my conscious creative mind to create something instead?  Why not fill the that time and space with things that promote happiness rather than anxiety? Like working out a creative  project, dreaming up a new use for my art supplies, mentally drafting a piece of writing or toying with far-fetched and delightful ideas that excite me! That way, when I have time to take action on a creative project, the thinking through is done and the play and process have room to begin.

It's time to reclaim my creative mental time and space!
I am picturing a cartoon version of myself climbing to the top of my brain, planting my freak flag and shouting, "I, Mila the Great, claim this space for creative play! All unproductive thoughts are forever banished from this land!"


  1. oh you are sounding like me here. I LOVE your take on how to overcome our negative thinking. I worry and I don't take rude people well at all!!! LOVE the whole idea of organizing my MENTAL SPACE. Seriously...NEVER thought of this before!! But I KNOW that is what keeps me less productive in my art work. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Have you read Creative Time and Space, Leslie? They talk about it there too.