I’ve been alarmed as I look at the regular rhythms & routines in our home as we relate to our phones & computers. I see the transformation in me and my husband from years ago to now… incremental, practically indiscernible increases of our reliance on, and the omnipresence of, our connective devices.
To what end? Am I kinder, more interesting, more sympathetic? Is my business thriving more? Am I selling more blankets, creating more impact against injustice?
Years ago, we kept our phones on a different floor from our main living space. We stored the laptop behind a couch cushion to stay out-of-sight-out-of-mind. 5-10 years-ago-me would look on at our current lifestyle and, I think, be baffled. But, am I different? Are my values different?
I’m a businesswoman, but ultimately, I see myself as a creator above all. Not quite an artist, but a creator. I think we are all creators, to varying degrees. We are made to create!
I’m not one for “Resolutions”, but coming into this year, what feels the most important to me is the need to quiet the input; to tune out (or, moreso, turn off) the distractions; and to allow my brain more time to dream, to ideate, to create! dignify’s kantha blankets are a classic, evergreen product, and that is one thing we love about them. But, steady is not the same as stagnant, and I want to make sure dignify doesn’t lose its WOW just because I’m zoned out watching video shorts. You know?
Mid-way through working on this post, I received an email newsletter describing almost exactly what I was thinking, as well. Jon Tyson writes,
“According to Dr. Felicia Wu Song, boredom has many benefits. When we are bored, part of our brain awakens. This is the part of our brain that activates self-reflection, empathizes with others, and galvanizes creativity. Research has found when we remove boredom from our lives, there is certain brain activity that remains unstimulated. Self-reflection. Empathy and creativity.
Distraction is robbing us of our sense of self, empathy for others, and creative contribution from our hearts. …
I want to feel more deeply, listen to more life with more attention, and recover some of the creativity that has been crowded out with all the chatter.”
Yes and Amen!
But, what can this look like for me... in my job, in my life, as a woman, as a mom?
Creation over Consumption
This is a phrase I've seen come up, and I even wrote about it many years ago! I do feel like this is a key piece: shifting some time and attention away from consuming to instead creating. Some examples:
- Taking photos, not just scrolling through others’
- Cooking & baking, not just reading cooking blogs
- “Stop pinning, start doing!” is a tagline I love that spurred on a DIY Instagrammer to learn her craft
- Creating conversations, not just observing the cultural conversations happening in op-eds, talking heads, & social media
- Thinking deeply about ideas, not just moving on to the next podcast
There is so much opportunity to create in my day! I hate when time seems to be absorbed by nothingness – the rabbit hole of scrolling/watching/learning/bouncing around apps. So, I'm definitely looking for better ways to direct my time & attention.
However, I’ve realized that there is another piece that I think will be helpful...
Inspiration & Awakening over Checking
I know that for me, I can’t just be creating all of the time! I don’t have a lot of downtime, and it is impractical to think I can always use that time to be making, creating, adding to the world. I’m tired! And, in my work days and in the thick of things, where does that creativity even come from? It’s been stifled by distractions!
I realized that there is another piece: becoming inspired again. Consuming deeply of beauty and wonder, to be filled anew with awe and inspiration. In this season, I’m actively seeking out these things.
Because, when I see an incredible movie, when I see photos of works of art, when I read stories of creators being creative, when I eat something delectable… I’m inspired! My senses are awakened. I’m spurred to participate and contribute.
None of these things happen when I am “checking” various things on my phone or browser; I know that I am seeking a hit of something interesting to jolt my brain.
I want to replace the serotonin hit of a new promotional email or a refreshed IG feed, with the jolts of inspo that bring my brain back to life! An awesome piece of music, a color of paint, a well-crafted piece of furniture, a vibrant, unique blanket! I am actively seeking out this kind of content "consumption".
Space & Conditions to Dream
Another resource that I have really loved and appreciated is Andy J. Pizza’s podcast “Creative Pep Talk”.
He began the year saying, I’m tired! And, what I really need to do is daydream again.
He nails that if we are going to dream at night, we don’t wander around the house and then lie down in bed & expect to immediately start dreaming. We have a bedtime routine, conditions that we set up to facilitate getting to sleep (& dreamland). In the same way, he says that if we want to daydream, maybe there are conditions to set us up. But, instead of a face mask and a sound machine, perhaps it is a walk outdoors, or a DND break for your phone, etc.
I’m thinking about what these might be for me, and how I can demarcate some cues & conditions that will awaken my brain to creative dreaming.