We pick up rules before we have a chance to question them.
~ Ellen Langer
This Is What?
What is this? [* answer below]
(a) wet/dry sander
(b) cigarette roller
(c) miniature dog sled
(d) bacon press
This object sat before us on the table. We were playing the Liar’s Game. Four people were taking turns to explain—confidently but contradictorily—the object’s name and its use.
But only one definition was true. The crowd would vote which one was correct.
We didn’t know we were practicing mindfulness.
Creativity Is Mindful
Are you creative? Then you’re also mindful. So says Ellen Langer in chapter 7, “Creative Uncertainty,” in her classic book Mindfulness.
Much of creativity comes through asking questions, looking for new ways of doing things, and finding unusual uses for usual objects.
But creativity dies when we automatically accept the status quo.
When I travel, I pack clothespins. I know I’ll need to play “What is it?”.
- Didn’t eat all the popcorn? The clothespin becomes a bag clip.
- Book won’t stay open on the beach? The clothespin is a page holder.
- Curtains don’t meet to block outside light? The clothespin is a curtain closer.
I long to create. It’s part of being made in God’s image. It’s part of knowing God more, showing Love more.
If I fail to exercise the creative part of me, I fail to be in touch with a part of God. And I want to touch all of God that I can.
And I need you too as well. Because I can’t see all aspects of God on my own. Neither can you.
We can see more of God together than we can see alone.
Let Your Creativity Breathe Out
When asked how he found his melodies, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach said, “The problem is not finding them, it’s—when getting up in the morning and getting out of bed—not stepping on them.”
As God breathes creative expression into your soul, nurture it.
Don’t smother your creativity.
Maybe you won’t compose piano masterpieces or paint great works of art, but you can:
- approach old problems with new solutions
- find beauty in everyday objects
- see God in the person beside you
Or maybe you can even publish a blog post to the world.
We each can create.
We each can be mindful.
We each can share a new angle of God with each other.
(b) My grandfather’s Brown and Williamson Cigarette Roller
Did you guess it correctly? How do you practice your creativity? Share in the comments.
For more on this topic, I recommend Ed Cyzewski’s book Creative Renewal: : An Invitation to Make Stuff and to Stop Clicking Stuff (and right now it’s free on Kindle Unlimited!).
revised from the archives
- Pair Your Nonfiction and Fiction Books
- The End Is Where We Start Again