The benefits of being mindful are many and well-noted. But perhaps not so acknowledged is the way awareness turns on your creative spigot.
Practicing mindfulness, being completely in the moment, is about acute awareness. When you become aware of every sensation of what you are doing, as you are doing it, you’re there. And once you’re aware of it, you can luxuriate in it, experience it with every one of your senses, and note it: How it feels, tastes, smells, sounds, looks, is.
This is how we turn the thin slivers of routine tasks into yawning gaps for creativity to rise up: We become aware.
Making awareness part of your everyday routine tasks will begin to enhance your awareness of everything. Which in turn enhances your creative responses to what you’re acutely aware of. And allows what’s undetected, right under the surface of your thoughts, to bubble up as creative ideas.
Witness the simple act of washing your hair in the shower. Go step by step: Select your shampoo, feel its container, remove the cap, smell what’s inside, pour the shampoo into your hand and think about how it feels: thick, silky, smooth? Then rub your shampoo into your hair like a salon expert is shampooing you, and feel every sensation of it on your hair, on your head, how it feels on your neck, shoulders, eyes closed, inhale the scent, feel the smooth lather, note how the suds run down your back, how it all rinses off your head and shoulders and how your hair feels . . . thinking of nothing but the sensations in that one simple daily routine task. How great it truly feels to fully experience the washing of your hair.
Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it?
But wait—didn’t an idea just pop into your head, unbeckoned, while you were shampooing? That’s how the idea for this article came to me. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to finish my shower to run to my MacBook Air and mindfully tap it out, noting the sensation of my fingernails clicking on the keys, their sounds, the occasional touch of fingertip to key, the pressure of my thumb hitting the space bar . . . but I didn’t. I stopped myself, acknowledged that little creative interruption like a cloud crossing the sky, with no self-admonishment, though with some astonishment at its appearance, and then resumed my shampoo. I completed my shower mindfully, shaving my legs with extreme interest in the scent and the feel of the Shampure body soap, and the smooth glide of the blade along my skin. I was back in the moment.
And came then the gift. Unbidden, a mantra formed in my mind, to help me remember what to write later about stimulating creativity:
So simple, isn’t it? But that’s all it takes. Being mindful can enhance our awareness and can lead to focus. In our daily detours to examine all things intriguing and marvelous and stimulating, losing our way is the biggest obstacle to creativity. But taking a moment to be mindful and aware will help us find our focus. And that will lead us to creativity every time. ♣