In front of the John Lennon Wall in Prague.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I finally turned left!

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law Barb came to visit.  She was excited to be the first one in our family to see the new house and to explore our new community.  Luckily there was fine fall weather during her visit, so we were able to take daily walks through the neighborhood. On the last walk, she joked, "Next time I'm here, let's turn left." 

That was when I realized that every time I go for a walk, when I get to the end of the drive leading to the sidewalk, I do indeed turn right.  Even though I have only lived in this house for six months, I'm already in a rut!

Lately I've been trying to shake things up in my creative life. Having made a resolution to get up a half hour earlier every day to write, I have gotten up every single morning since then. I can proudly say it has been 90 days as of today.  I also decided to take a poetry workshop that not only focused on writing, but also memorizing a poem each week.  I thought trying to use my brain differently could help me shake loose even more creativity.

So last weekend, when I took a walk during which I planned to practice memorizing a poem, I thought of Barb's words.  I turned left.  Pacing down the street, I recited Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I could not stop for death..." over and over to myself.  Perhaps it was the new direction or the strangely beautiful words of Dickinson's poem, or a combination of both, but I did seem to see the trees and houses around me differently.  I noticed the details of leave patterns and the sidewalk heaved from tree roots with more clarity.  And I even got an idea for a new poem of my own.

This reminded me of how important mental disequilibrium can be for the creative process. By shaking things up for our brains, we can uncover ideas and images we might never have found otherwise.  What wonderful gifts those become.  If we never break loose from what is comfortable or routine, that gift of creation might be lost to us forever. I'm determined to catch as many of those moments as possible. 

Even though I know all this, sometimes it is too easy to forget.  So, thanks to Barb's wise words, I've added a new resolution to keep turning left, in whatever ways I can. 

What are some ways you have "turned left" in your life? How are you shaking up your life to let your creativity flow?  


1 comment:

  1. Mental disequilibrium -- love this. Great post and timely reminder, Lisa!