Writers, artists, teachers, kids, parents, cooks, musicians, EVERYBODY…this column is for you. We are all creative, whether you think you are or not!
“How was your day?” “What did you do today?” We’ve all asked, and have been asked, these questions — often daily. When I’m asked, I usually respond with the stock answer, “The usual.” Sounds pretty pathetic. Maybe my day’s so chock-full of activities that it’s just too much to condense into a nutshell of an answer.
I started to wonder: What if we change the question to “What stands out in your day?”
A simple fix that makes this a more specific question requiring a more specific, contemplative answer. After all, it’s what we’re actually curious about — not a list of all the minutiae that fills our day. And this turns the question into a more mindful activity…
Time: 5 minutes or so – try not to overthink this!
Materials: You may decide to use a journal or scraps of paper, but they’re not necessary.
Rather than waiting for someone to pose the question, ask it of yourself:
What stands out in my day?
Maybe you’ll choose to start a “One Thing” journal or a “One Thing” jar (with your daily items jotted on scraps of paper). An added bonus to writing your responses is that they can be comforting and inspiring to revisit. Maybe they’ll spark a future idea for a piece of art or writing. Or perhaps you’d prefer to tuck your “One Thing” away in your memory. No matter — just contemplate that One Thing.
Having difficulty bringing the One Thing to the forefront? Use the following prompts:
- Find One Thing (that stands out in the day, good or bad).
- Do One Thing (that rises above all others in the day).
- Say One Thing (that means something to you or to someone else).
- Create/Make One Thing. (Sometimes “create” sounds overwhelming, requiring higher-than-usual expectations. If this term poses too much of a challenge, replace “create” with “make”. Maybe you’re making a quilt or a painting, or cookies or a meatloaf).
Once I began considering these four lines of awareness each day, I became more mindful of the world, my actions within my world and my reactions to the world. Being mindful of our responses can bring about an awareness to our days that we might otherwise muddle through without much attention to what we’ve done. It can also lead to deeper and more interesting conversation.
Start asking that simple question of yourself and others: What stands out in your day? It could be a stepping stone to a more global awareness. And I’m of the belief that every little bit helps.
Not-To-Miss Creative Events: Two exciting shows at:
NC Arts Incubator
223 N. Chatham Ave., Siler City – 919-663-1335
No charge – open most weekdays
Now through April 18: Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild of Raleigh show, “March Hare”
April 21-May 16: Oil paintings by Sanford artist Kara McSpadden
Share your ideas, questions or comments by contacting me at Barbara@WildesArt.com. Is there a creative event happening? Let me know — I’d love to hear from you!
Barbara Hengstenberg is an artist, writer, educator,and founder of www.WildesArt.com, an online community of creatives. Barbara lives in Pittsboro, and sells her Zen folkart and offers tips on creativity through her website. She serves on the Board of the NC Arts Incubator. You can reach Barbara at Barbara@WildesArt.com.