Monday, May 13, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #2

"Quiet Mind" Collage by Lani and textures from FlyPaper
I was reading Christine Carter's blog post for Raising Happiness in which she describes the reasons for quieting our monkey minds, our constant inner chatter, how part of the brain that is so caught up in the chains of the past and the expectations for the future that it keeps a running commentary going even when we are in conversation with other people.  How in the world can we "be here now" with our inner monkeys constantly chattering?

And of course as artists we've all had those quiet moments of flow where we are so lost in out art making that the words and chatter drop away, and all there is is this present moment, the art materials and the artist at play.

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize-winner and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow,  suggests that the noisy verbal part of our brains is slow, processing only about 40 bits of information per second (slow?). The creative, intuitive, non-verbal brain processes about 11 million bits per second (OMG).  That is amazing.  So if we turn down the chatter and listen to the stillness what will happen?  Will we be using our non-verbal brain?  Will we develop more flow moments?

To try to practice deep wordlessness, Christine Carter turned to Martha Beck's  Finding Your Way in a Wild New World.  Beck says it in the quiet mind, the non-verbal part of the brain where the magic happens; it's there that we make necessary associations to solve problems and play creatively.  She suggests we take some time to stop thinking in words. Beck feels that’s always been the way humans entered the zone of creative “magic”.  Who among us wouldn't love more time in the zone of creative "magic"?  Her book has many techniques for activating this zone and here's a simple one.  It involves mindful breathing, inhaling slowly and deliberately, exhaling with equal mindfulness and when you are at the end of the exhale pause a moment to listen for your heart beat.  Then repeat the cycle several times.  This technique takes us to a very friendly quiet space in no time.

But if you have ten minutes (only 10 minutes) do her guided meditation “Seven League Boots” of Finding Your Way in a Wild New World.   Just click on the live link for the book, scroll down to the free downloads and you will see the "seven league boots" exercise.  It's the most valuable 10 minutes anyone can give you, and it's free.

So here's the Monday Challenge, we'll be engaging that magical quiet, creative place.  You can do this with either the listening to your heart beat, or the "seven league boots" exercise.  They are both awesome.  So before beginning call to mind a puzzle, a difficulty, a concern that your mind has been working on with the verbal side of your brain.  Just one will do for this exercise.  Then proceed to the breathing and listening cycles (see above) or to the "seven league boots".  Once your mind is quiet, try creating some art from that space.  Let it stay very intuitive.

When you are finished, look at your art piece and look for the symbols of the solutions to the puzzle or difficulty.  The creative, quiet mind speaks in metaphor and symbols.  It may take a minute or two to see them, but they are there.  Our wisdom is within us!

Feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool.


Gena Lumbroso said...

Wowee, Lani! You are always flowing with ideas and cross-linking with so many other great ideas... I can't stop jumping up and down long enough to get myself to do this very cool challenge... but I will because I so look forward to the magic space! I like to live there ;) xx

Lani Gerity said...

Oh you are very welcome Gena, and hope you can come down soon in order to try it. (I totally loved it, especially the 7 league boots!)

Zura said...

Love this! Will do it later today.

Lani Gerity said...

Can't wait to hear how it goes for you Zura!

lizzie said...

OMG Lani...This is so wonderful!!!
I just love this experience with the 7 league boots!!!
Thank you so much for sharing great info and links too!!!
I blogged my response and linked it here:


Lani Gerity said...

I agree whole heartedly!