On Dullness and Doodles
Maybe the answer to all our problems is a good doodle?
One of the great challenges of modern living is that life gets old. As we have found solutions for much of the turbulence of our forbears, we have created smooth paths that easily become ruts. Our lives, behaviors, and thoughts easily become dreadfully dull and patterned.
Therefore, one of the great opportunities in modern living is to venture into the creative.
There were a number of years where my daughter, Ana, was taking Suzuki violin lessons. During the early years, a part of the Suzuki process is for a parent to sit in on the lessons, to observe so help can be offered when it’s time to practice at home.
Every Thursday afternoon I’d pick up Ana from school, we’d stop at a coffee shop for a treat, and then head to the lesson with a violin and some guilt (“I didn’t practice enough!”).
It was a lovely time together, AND after listening to “Long, Long Ago” for the 30th time it could get really dull.
Into the midst of those long, long lessons, I started doodling. I’d turn off my mind, turn on my pen, and weird and wacky designs would emerge. Over the months I developed quite an array of doodles.
In looking back, that time with Ana, and the file of doodles that came from it, are a treasured memory for me.
Creativity is a divine force that humanizes us. It brings sparkle into our lives. It rides in our life backpacks, and is happy to be called upon at any time or place. Creativity can take the form of an artistic expression, an out-of-the-ordinary behavior, or thinking in an entirely different way.
Here’s the challenge: this force stays locked-up when we are in a rut. This is because our habit behaviors and our creativity are on a teeter totter – when one’s up the other’s down.
Making space for the creative in our lives requires intention, a mindset shift, a change of heart. Walking to your car? Pick up a leaf and explore it. Listening to the news? Notice your typical thought reaction and turn it upside down. Feeling lonely or afraid? Dig beneath the static and see if you can find an ember of new life.
One of the great possibilities of modern living is that life can get radically new in the blink of a creative eye. Your homework today is to transform one of your everyday habits or ruts. Let your creativity paint it, poke it, play with it, and then notice the adventure that is blooming within and around you.