how the rhythmic process of walking can enhance creativity
There is a wisdom of the body that our minds tend to ignore. A wisdom that is vital for creativity. That may seem a strange statement for we think of our mind as being the source of creativity but the mind is many faceted.When we are simply living in our analytical mind we may get a lot of necessary work done but we miss out on the creative musing that opens us up to new ideas. When we go on a relaxing walk it pulls our awareness from our mind chatter to the rhythm of our body. Our mind is still active, but it becomes a receptive sort of awareness. Of course we are not always in a relaxed state when we walk, but if we allow it the repetition of the steps and sensations of the body will gradually pull our mind into a deeper state. Walking in this way leaves our mind open to let our thoughts just flow. To learn more about this aspect of creativity take a look at my article on moodling. We need time like this to moodle in order to feed our imagination.
In "The Vein of Gold" Julia Cameron suggests walking as a tool for creative renewal. She points out that "We speak of 'food for thought' but seldom realize that as artist we need thought for food. Walking, with it's constant inflow of new images, gives us new thoughts that nourish us. It replenishes our overtapped creative well and gives us a sense of … well, wellness."
Because of this nourishing ability of walking we can tap into it whenever we are blocked, frustrated or simply feeling too closed in. A writer might walk when she is feeling stumped as to where to go next in her story, a weaver might use walking to sort out the tangle of a confused pattern, a mother of young children might be seeking a solution to a problem with her little ones. After a stressful day at work walking can help a woman sort out her day and then put aside her worries leaving her mind open for creativity.
There is a deeper aspect to walking as well. When walking we not only connect to our body but also to the earth. We are reminded we are a physical being who is part of something far greater. Tree branches whisper reminding us of a gentle breeze, the fragrance of pine. It opens our senses to the world around us and to the world within. We become larger than we were, something more. Whether we are watching birds in the country or masses of people in the city we see with perceptive eyes. We become aware of our self in the greater scheme of things; fertile ground for fostering creativity.
Cameron suggests walking alone each day. There is no doubt that walking alone leaves the mind free to observe and dream. I like to walk on forested trails and around grassy ponds or down a windy beach. Often I am walking with my husband who enjoys walking in these places as well. I still find I have time to muse as I go while other moments we share what we are seeing. I believe it is more important that we get out and walk whether alone or not. Sometime it is the other person who notices something unusual or particularly interesting. Sharing these things can add to our experience. Pick a walking partner who will allow quiet spaces along the way. Or simply walk alone.
It's so easy to find excuses about why we can't walk. There is no doubt it is hard to fit into our modern schedules. Responsibilities to others may seem to limit us, but we need to remember we also have a responsibility to ourselves. Walking not only gives us the gift of good health but also inspiration born of reverie. Take time to give that gift to yourself.
Exploring Women's Creativity © 1999 Judy Anne Breneman
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