30-Day Creativity Practice

Source: NASA.gov

Yesterday, I mentioned a return to deep writing and walking meditation. Today, I’m inviting anyone who wants to join me to come along. There’s no pressure and no fee, just building a daily habit. Come join me! here is how it works:

Why Now? Why am I doing it right as the holidays are heaping pressure and expectations on you? For that exact reason–the best time to give yourself some peace of mind and a calming habit is when you need it.

What Is It? For the next 30 days—the time most experts agree it takes to make a practice into a habit—I’m going to return to my practice of deep writing and walking meditation. Both of those practices help me nurture my spirituality, work on karma debts, hatch some creative ideas and allow them to fledge,  and explore the rough ledges of forgiveness and healing.

Art by John Crane Dower

What’s Walking Meditation? There are many kinds. Mine is simple. Right after I get up, while I still remember my dreams, I dress and go for a brisk walk. For the first part I don’t listen to music, talk or sing. I simply walk and breathe and focus on both. For another part of the walk, I listen to audiobooks from a wide variety of spiritual sources–everything from Pema Chodron to an Australian First Nation guide discussing Dream Time. I’ve done this practice for most of the last 30 years, but fell out of the habit and am not doing it regularly. I want that feeling of starting the day by connecting body and soul buttoned up the right way again.

Spirit Launch from NASA.gov

What’s Deep Writing?  It’s different from Morning Pages, although it has a few aspects in common. It’s written in long hand in a notebook or journal. It’s not a set number of pages, it’s built on a time period–15 minutes. It can take place any time of day–but it should be at the same time of day every day. In deep writing, you sit comfortably with your notebook or journal and you write about what is worrying you, bothering you, upsetting you, causing you discomfort or stress. You write about both facts and emotions–steps that brought you to the stress and the emotion you felt—using as many sense as you can. Where in you body you feel it, what color it is, what it smells like, anything that helps you fully explain the emotion. The facts and emotion links your right brain and left brain, as does the act of writing. The result, according to the National Institutes of Health is reflection-in-action and knowing-in-action—you write down problems, develop critical skills, and come up with solutions. Your creativity will stretch and reach for light. You will develop ideas, maybe make meaning in your daily work. It doesn’t happen the first day, but it happens.

Plasma eruption on the sun. Source: NASA.gov

Can I Draw In My Journal?  Yes, but not this one. This is a journal you will not show others, not share, not scan and post on your website. It’s between you and the Spirit of Creation. If you are religious, it is a form of prayer. If you are spiritual, it is a spiritual practice. If you are an atheist, it is an exploration of your ethics and purpose. This is the private work that’s too personal to bring to show and tell. This is a hand-writing journal of the old-fashioned kind. You don’t have to be a writer, you just have to live your life out loud in a notebook.

Is There A Group? Yes, but it’s informal.  If you want to join and get support, add encouragement, talk about something that happened as a result of the journaling–join up. Leave me a comment including your website, and I’ll put you in the Blogroll on the right-hand column of this blog. If you post about your deep writing experience, let me know through a comment. For the next 30 days, I’ll start each blog post with the number of the day and a report/insight/idea from someone (or one of my own) and we’ll build a practice of creative exploration together.

Quinn McDonald is beginning a month of calm in the middle of the busiest time of year. In the words of Hillel the Elder, “If not now, when?”