I’ve been reading a great deal about mindfulness as a condition that facilitates creativity. Psychology Today defines it as being, “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
Mindfulness is a hot topic. There’s no shortage of information. We have Mindfulness Workouts (“Mindfulness Workouts Are The New Way To Work Your Body And Brain”), Mindful Leadership (“The Power of Mindful Leadership”), and even Mindful Eating (“How Mindful Eating Can Boost Digestion and Dispel the Myth of Mealtime Multitasking”). Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to be mindful today when I eat that pulled pork sandwich during the Super Bowl.
There were two pieces in particular that I found of interest. Dave Rock and Josh Davis remind us that some of our most creative thinking and problem solving can occur when our minds are quiet and our consciousness is at rest. They share Four Steps to Having More Ah-ha Moments in the October, 2016 issue of HBR. While not directly addressing the concept of mindfulness they encourage that we practice leaving space for quiet, being internally focused, taking a positive approach, and not actively trying to have insight. Ideally these four behaviors will serve to facilitate greater insights and creativity.
Likewise, In his post, Mindfulness and Cultivating Creativity Mike Formica proposes that creativity is not something we can turn on and off. Rather, he refers to is as the default mode network (a collection of brain regions active when an individual is not externally focussed.) He states, “The bottom line is that, in order to access our creativity, we need to find the silence within ourselves to create a space of allowing. This is where mindfulness can give us an opportunity to find that silence.”
You know, I think this whole idea has been around much longer. In 1966 Simon and Garfunkel released a tune called “The 59th Bridge Song”, better known as “Feeling Groovy” . It was simply a song about being mindful.
Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones. Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
Hello lamppost, What cha knowing? I’ve come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me? Doot-in’ doo-doo, Feelin’ groovy.
Got no deeds to do, No promises to keep. I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all it’s petals on me. Life, I love you, All is groovy.
So take some time this week to smell the coffee, feel the evening breeze, listen to the wind, focus on your breathing, and chew slowly. By mid-week I hope you are feeling groovy! ?
Embrace the Challenge,