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Everyday Creativity

--by Ruth Richards (Dec 13, 2011)


I’m rather good at maps. I’m also good at using a GPS device. But I forgot the maps and here we were, late afternoon, last day of vacation, my daughter my cousin and I, driving along a two-lane highway in midstate Oregon. No other car in sight, and the sun had just gone down. Where was that charming little village?

It was supposed to be right along this river.  We drove on, farther and farther into the unknown, river always at left as our guide. We kept passing farms and fields and scattered houses and now a few lights were coming out.  In my head, I was doing a litany of self-criticism: Why didn’t we start earlier, leave more time, have lunch sooner, save dessert for the little town, bring the map, and on and on and on, a list of all we did wrong -- reliving it as if that could help us now. My cousin and I were both impatient and stressed. My daughter, at least, was happy in the back seat, text messaging a friend. I pull up on the shoulder of the road to think.

Just then -- WOW! Amazing! A new scene had appeared. A new slide projected on a screen.  Where did it come from?
 
Look! LOOK! I insisted. Even my daughter looked up.  Right there, out of nowhere: a magical misty landscape. Fields moving off to infinity in muted purples and pastels, fuzzy in the haze, with clusters of tall lush tress, darkening and receding in the dusk. I turned the car engine off. All was silent in the hot summer air. Beside us a plum-colored river barely moved between a border of trees, its dark lazy water reflecting the last light of day.
 
How breathtaking! This landscape had cast a spell. We sat in the silence of an indrawn breath. Where had it been? If I had seen even a trace of this beauty while driving along, not a neuron had registered it, no mental bell had rung so that the conscious mind could stop and take a look. I had missed it all. We had all missed it. 
 
We miss a lot, almost everything, in fact, in our world. Our task-focused filters take care of that, selecting only what we need.  We need to get to work. Have some lunch. Find that report. Water the garden. Go out on a date. We see what we need to see, often for purposes of survival -- or survival of the species. Gregory Bateson, speaking of beauty, said aesthetic judgment is selection of a fact.  We create the sight even as we become conscious of it. We do not simply see it. In our daily lives, who or what is doing the selecting? And why? Is this predetermined? Can we -- in the here and now – make a change?  Can we see further?  Can we see better?  Can we  even better our world?
 
Opening our vision is a first step in Everyday Creativity.  
 
--Ruth Richards, in forthcoming version of Everyday Creativity


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32 Previous Reflections:

 
On Aug 7, 2017 Ann wrote:

 I just joined a creativity class.  Today is the first day and, I believe this blog is written by an instructor of the class.  I am finding myself unable to move forward in my life..I feel stuck....I am quite creative, innately, I think but without drive.  My mind keeps going to the "gonnas" in my life but I don't want to just do what I have to do...I want to experience my creative life (I am retired)..and I can't get passed the "have to" list (which I procrastinate)...hence stuck in limbo. I am going to begin today....small steps....just observing my world, w/o judgment, simply.  It will be difficult.



On Jul 10, 2017 Rennata Tropeano wrote:

I have been feeling down, stuck and not every creative. I signed up for a class in creativity and a link within it brought me here. I am very glad of that. This post is what I needed to hear, Thank you.  



On May 9, 2017 Lori Pickens wrote:

 I agree with you, there is so much creativity in the world. We just need to slow down and take it all in, breathe.
Once we relax, rest, and give our minds a chance to unwind the magic starts to happen.



On Feb 13, 2017 Zubair Shaikh wrote:

I am Urdu language speaker, a couplet of poetry in Urdu gives meaning that you went trough in the world with very superficial and eye bird view, other wise every tiny piece of the world contained a whole world in itself.  



On Dec 28, 2016 Prosperity wrote:

 This is so indicative of our society. We get so caught up and focused on what we have to do that we don't notice the beauty around us.



On Dec 4, 2016 shalini wrote:

All of us generally are running in our spin of cycle without even looking for new things as we are very comfortable in the same cycle and not looking for new things, not appreciating  like how a child does... thus missing a whole lot of beautiful admirable scenes in life.



On Nov 2, 2016 Benita wrote:

 I did a painting course last week. And ever since I have been looking at the world differently and thinking of how I could translate it in a painting. Driving home after gym I was awed by all the lights blinking below me from the mountain road and the special colour of the sky and the road sign provided an amazing contrast. The garden is fascinating me. Everything is becoming a potential for a beautiful picture.



On Jul 8, 2016 Rajendra P Thanju wrote:

 enjoyed the writing.

'what is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare' by William H Davies.



On Jun 23, 2016 Cindi wrote:

 What a joy to read this passage! I am reminded to appreciate the miracles all around me every day. For example, I walk every morning at sunrise. I've done this all my adult life, some 40 years now. Every morning I am in awe watching the sunrise as if it is the first one I've ever seen. Each one is unique and each one creates a sense of anticipation for the day ahead. I never tire of this exercise. On the days I am unable to walk for one reason or another I miss this opportunity to connect to the present. Those days are not as much fun as the days when I walk.



On May 18, 2016 Doumie wrote:

In a similar situation many times in my life! Happy ending always to do with admitting my anxiety when facing the unknown or unfamiliar and letting go of it as a gift to myself... abdominal breathing helps a great deal in such cases: by oxygenating our brain and therefore giving it a chance to work full blast! 



On Feb 22, 2015 Carlen Vargas Sens wrote:

 
Good text That is why I don't care about my "non-sense of location", being lost is always a way to know more about a place than you were suppose to learn.



On Feb 20, 2015 Ron Moats wrote:

 The closest thing I can relate to on this was one time I was lost heading north out of Montana riding to Alaska and missed a turn off because I must have been passing trucks either pulling doubles or triples.  The only thing I knew was I was supposed to be heading north and I was driving directly into the sun so that would have to be west?  I drove for over an hour and started getting nervous because I didn't know how much more gas I had in the tank (motorcycle didn't have a gas gauge) then I passed it... The road sign that I had to stop and get a picture of  "welcome to headsmashedinbuffalojump" I had to get a picture of the sign, I had driven 90 miles out of my way so I spent the night at the park.



On Feb 18, 2015 K.R.T Achar wrote:

 I chanced upon a similar scenario on one of my trips (pseudo-official) which was all alone in the coastal interiors of my state (Karnataka, India) in the southern part of peninsular India where I live. Sun had just then set and the atmosphere was getting into a colder night. I was by the river side when a school kid who was on his way back to his house far from the fields, gave us directions to the river before running away. it was the innocent smile on his face that left an impression since he was victorious in satisfying our objective of finding our place........ one can feel, sense and be inspired in more than one way. It is the spontaneous feeling in such moments that leaves one spellbound........



On Feb 17, 2015 madhubala wrote:

I am impressed.I was visiting the  Andaman islands and  Trying to have a glimpse of the sun rising out of the sea. Unfortunately it was clouded and i could not view what i had set out for but I did see the amazing orange clouds and a hue of colors in the early morning sky which made me speechless. At times you want to see a different thing but nature provides a glimpse of the abundant beauty around unexpectedly . It was a thrilling experience.



On Feb 17, 2015 AP wrote:

 A long-standing joke with my kids is that I never get lost when driving. If I lose sight of where I am, because I didn't look at a map, or the GPS can't for whatever reason locate the satellite we are not lost. We are on an adventure. It's a practice we've managed to embed enough that they never ask if we're lost. Instead, they ask if we're on an adventure. That play, and the ease of it that they've caught on to, helps me reset when I don't have any idea of where I am, or where I'm going.



On Feb 17, 2015 Veronica Papale wrote:

 One of my favorite things about children is they notice things that we have come to take for granted-simple everyday things, often with just the simple question, "why?" or, my favorite, "what is that?" I am always so grateful whenever I see a sunset, or sometimes, even just the sky. Sometimes it is so blue, it takes my breath away.  I always love the contrast of snow on tree limbs contrasted against the blue sky. I also love clouds, especially when they contain droplets which causes them to reflect the colors of a rainbow, or when the sun cascades rays of light upon the earth from behind them. 



On Feb 15, 2015 antonio wrote:

 Great thoughts and inspiration



On Jan 23, 2013 Alice wrote:
 Thanks for the article and the opportunity to respond. I have some difficulty with the words deeper and shallower. "Different" is easier for me to notice. For 30 some years, I was a Roman Catholic.  I previously thought that if I gave food to the poor, I would gain merit for attaining heaven. Contact our Minneapolis SEO Company today. For web design quotes, please call 612.590.8080

On Dec 5, 2012 Math wrote:
This landscape had cast a spell. We sat in the silence of an indrawn breath. Where had it been? Do I have a change to apply for cong ty bao ve and how it can work on dich vu bao ve and others like bao ve

On Oct 20, 2012 R Lu wrote:
 

On Dec 24, 2011 fred wrote:

 From my grad school days in Indiana, I developed a passion for taking off on back roads on a whim, just to see things I had never seen before.  It was lonely, personal, passionate, and always beautiful and transcendent.  These foray continued, not so much with the auto, but with kayak or skis.  Or, in the Philippines as the last past couple of months, wandering into differenct sections of town (Dumaguete) and seeing and visiting people in their neighborhoos.  One such area was recently badly flooded (typhoon Sendong).  For an image of a few people at a communal well, ravished a couple of weeks later after our return to Vermont, take a peek at http://impleximundi.com/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=110 and see a video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=thiSUyLOU84It was so beautiful to meet these people, and so sad at the suffering they now endure.Fred  See full.

 From my grad school days in Indiana, I developed a passion for taking off on back roads on a whim, just to see things I had never seen before.  It was lonely, personal, passionate, and always beautiful and transcendent.  These foray continued, not so much with the auto, but with kayak or skis.  Or, in the Philippines as the last past couple of months, wandering into differenct sections of town (Dumaguete) and seeing and visiting people in their neighborhoos.  One such area was recently badly flooded (typhoon Sendong).  For an image of a few people at a communal well, ravished a couple of weeks later after our return to Vermont, take a peek at http://impleximundi.com/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=110 and see a video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=thiSUyLOU84

It was so beautiful to meet these people, and so sad at the suffering they now endure.

Fred

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On Dec 19, 2011 Catherine Todd wrote:

"Look! LOOK! I insisted. Even my daughter looked up.  Right there, out of nowhere: a magical misty landscape. Fields moving off to infinity in muted purples and pastels, fuzzy in the haze, with clusters of tall lush tress, darkening and receding in the dusk. I turned the car engine off. All was silent in the hot summer air. Beside us a plum-colored river barely moved between a border of trees, its dark lazy water reflecting the last light of day."

What beautiful words... this I had to share. Gracias.



On Dec 18, 2011 Jimmi wrote:

Peace is all around us man evercahanging force of life  to adapt to a world of mis deeds and misunderstood intentions to overcome all that may appear to be right as much as one may will the opposite.  Peace be with you my brothers my sisters, aunties and thier grand babies.



On Dec 16, 2011 kash wrote:

it was a refreshing calm n beautiful story ....! :)



On Dec 13, 2011 Navin sata wrote:

Beauty is in the eye of beholder, in nature every season is full of beauty,nature heals,nurtures and inspires  all kind of artist,poets in nature every thing gives . think hands that paints the sky everyday.we all are his children .in our inner beauty it reflects in silence of meditation ,we become one with nature and creativity flows endlessly moment to moment



On Dec 11, 2011 Ganoba wrote:

 i have two reflections:

1 about getting lost, and

2 about survival.

We are liable to be lost if our reference point is not in the present, if it is else where in time (usually past) or in space. Then anxiety, irritation fear take over and miss a lot of all that is on offer.

The idea of survival either as individuals or groups, cuts us of from our environment. it is high time we get rid of this pernicious idea given "scientific" validity by Darwin and his hangers on.

The universe is based on the principle of synergy and cooperation.



On Dec 10, 2011 Ricky wrote:

There is no better way to move through the day than to be purposeful.   When we label frustration for a delay or an inconvenience, and close ourselves in, we miss out on the ebb and flow of this amazing experience here.  By being intentional about the way we live gratefully in each breath, we are fully present to each serendipitous moment, and the revelation of the resulting encounter and/or event unfolds with ease and wonder…even when we are late or in a hurry.   Being creative about how we move through the day reveals a lot about how we think.  Our patterns of priority take shape.  A particular colleague routinely wants to connect with you on your way to your desk or next destination.  There are several scenarios.  You could push by under the guise of being on a mission.  You could time your movement past them when they are discussing with another, and keep your eyes averted.  You could most likely take a different route.&  See full.

There is no better way to move through the day than to be purposeful.   When we label frustration for a delay or an inconvenience, and close ourselves in, we miss out on the ebb and flow of this amazing experience here.  By being intentional about the way we live gratefully in each breath, we are fully present to each serendipitous moment, and the revelation of the resulting encounter and/or event unfolds with ease and wonder…even when we are late or in a hurry. 

 

Being creative about how we move through the day reveals a lot about how we think.  Our patterns of priority take shape.  A particular colleague routinely wants to connect with you on your way to your desk or next destination.  There are several scenarios.  You could push by under the guise of being on a mission.  You could time your movement past them when they are discussing with another, and keep your eyes averted.  You could most likely take a different route.  There are many others, but you could also build time into your journey and breathe with them.  Frankly, I choose building time.

 

There is, in this life, one truism…we are here for relationships.  We build the foundation of our lives on the relationships we develop and nurture.  These relationships reveal interconnectedness and reflections of who and what we feel is important at every turn.  This understanding of interconnectedness shapes our view of the world around us.  It is diverse and can include how we view nature and natural events, wildlife, common occurrences, friends, family, strangers, the circadian rhythm, our job related encounters, the choices we make, the schedule we keep and maybe even treasure, the changes that occur where we have no control, the control we think we have, and the limits we put on ourselves when living closed off under the guise of being too busy.   

 

If our understanding of interconnectedness is limited, so is the creativity with which we move through our existence.  To live a rich and fulfilling life is to see each moment with fresh eyes.  I love the idea of shoshin-a Japanese term for beginner’s mind.  Shoshin frankly helps guide me through my day, my yoga practice, my life’s work, the mundane, the new beginnings, the old routines.   Our lives are anything but common and typical.  Our lives can be lived revealing the expansiveness of the universe.  Our way of looking out from the safety of the carbon unit we inhabit has the profound ability to create joy and reveal wonder in every breath we take.  This is quite a practice, to be sure.  But just as anything else that is hard and needs attention, so does this notion of living inspired and with a genuine sense of imagination.

 

So, in my anything but mundane, routine, schedule of avocation as a high school teacher, I arrive two hours early and plan quietly, so I can be present for the conversations that will arise, the beautiful and ever changing sunrise, for the inevitable people encounters, for the typical challenges.  I also offer my gift of time in several other venues throughout the week, and in fulfilling this I am privy to spectacular views of the mountain in sunset and moonrise, conversations with the homeless, the V formation of the comorants and the trumpeter swans on their way home, the raccoons scrounging on the deck, and the peaceful countenances of my yoga students as we leave practice to go home to sleep peacefully.  I also am fully present for the deep connection within the starred eyes of students who do not commonly share eye contact, for grateful exchanges with students not known for revealing inner truth, and for the wondrous experience of raising my own two children remembering I am enough, and that our time together is golden, bright, and shimmering!

 

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On Dec 10, 2011 conrad wrote:

Thanks for the article and the opportunity to respond. I have some difficulty with the words deeper and shallower. "Different" is easier for me to notice. For 30 some years, I was a Roman Catholic.  I previously thought that if I gave food to the poor, I would gain merit for attaining heaven. Now when I give food it is similar to being in heaven during the giving. As the philosopher Abraham Kaplan said when writing about Zen; noticing the miracles all around us every day, and all the time in the present is what quality living is about. Yet, he says, we often wait for the sound of a ram's horn to announce these miracles. Noticing/awareness is the key to quality living. Noticing that you don't notice  is great noticing.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.     See full.

Thanks for the article and the opportunity to respond. I have some difficulty with the words deeper and shallower. "Different" is easier for me to notice. For 30 some years, I was a Roman Catholic.  I previously thought that if I gave food to the poor, I would gain merit for attaining heaven. Now when I give food it is similar to being in heaven during the giving. As the philosopher Abraham Kaplan said when writing about Zen; noticing the miracles all around us every day, and all the time in the present is what quality living is about. Yet, he says, we often wait for the sound of a ram's horn to announce these miracles. Noticing/awareness is the key to quality living. Noticing that you don't notice  is great noticing.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.

 

 

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On Dec 10, 2011 Derek wrote:

 What strikes me most of this passage is how sometimes we must surrender to life. That we might be drawn off course from our path at times.  We may not understand why.. but we need to have faith in knowing there is a purpose.. a lesson. And in this case it's about developing awareness and appreciation for the blessings that surround us. To be present and in the moment.... 

I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the reminder : )



On Dec 9, 2011 Edit Lak wrote:

Ahh.  The beauty and mysteries to life – our life – and the lives of everything and ‘All’ around us.. If we tap into the reality of life ‘naturally’  to the beauty of this world and our human essence, no matter what colour or season, landscape or imagery of the world we see...We then realise and see the true 'gifts' before us, we see where we are at, and where were living and being for the first time, through clear and unsolicited eyes, no media reports, no distortions, no photo-shopping, no subliminals, no expectations, no gadgets, just seeing ‘NOW’ and in-front of us, letting go of the ego, the pasts, of expected projected outcomes, and just simply, seeing before us NOW. That’s huge, really huge...  That’s a true petal opening within us, our heart blooming to visions,colours, life, inspirations and US -the true self..   We also then become the teachers for others to see these amazements, because  See full.

Ahh.  The beauty and mysteries to life – our life – and the lives of everything and ‘All’ around us.. If we tap into the reality of life ‘naturally’  to the beauty of this world and our human essence, no matter what colour or season, landscape or imagery of the world we see...

We then realise and see the true 'gifts' before us, we see where we are at, and where were living and being for the first time, through clear and unsolicited eyes, no media reports, no distortions, no photo-shopping, no subliminals, no expectations, no gadgets, just seeing ‘NOW’ and in-front of us, letting go of the ego, the pasts, of expected projected outcomes, and just simply, seeing before us NOW.

That’s huge, really huge...  That’s a true petal opening within us, our heart blooming to visions,

colours, life, inspirations and US -the true self..   We also then become the teachers for others to see these amazements, because if we can see them, then, we can point these wonders out to others. We are the life mirrors to others, as this mother demonstrated to her daughter was in this passage... Beautiful, just lovely..   Letting go of expectations – opens the doors to authenticity....

We are the change and we can certainly create more positive changes – first within us and the around us, then beyond us..  ..  Nice....  

Thanks again

E

 

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On Dec 9, 2011 Dave Doane wrote:

I believe the most significant factor in being creative is being present, and our task focus and goal directedness get in the way of being present.  When creativity appears to come out of task focused goal directed activity, I believe it's still really coming out of a moment of being present, a moment that has managed to squeeze through the task focus and goal directedness, and sometimes it gets noticed, like the guy in the car who noticed the present moment of 'magical misty landscape' that broke through his goal directed driving.  Creativity happens when being present.



On Dec 1, 2011 Marta wrote:

It seems as if we can look at every moment in life as a miracle waiting to be discovered.  Your intuition to stop. The silence of the night. The awareness of the stunning scene. All added up to the 'perfect storm' of the present. Lovely, Ruth. Simply lovely.