Sep 26, 2008
I ran across this quote by Nathaniel Branden the other day: "It is generally recognized that creativity requires leisure, an absence of rush, time for the mind and imagination to float and wander and roam, time for the individual to descend into the depths of his or her psyche, to be available to barely audible signals rustling for attention. Long periods of time may pass in which nothing seems to be happening. But we know that kind of space must be created if the mind is to leap out of its accustomed ruts, to part from the mechanical, the known, the familiar, the standard, and generate a leap into the new."
One of the biggest mistakes that I made while working full time in music ministry was feeling like I had to be "doing" something all the time. I felt guilty if I wasn't busy with some project or another. I was in a job that demanded creativity but I never took the time to foster or nurture it. It didn't take long before the creative well dried up and burnout set in. About a year to be exact.
Nurturing creativity is different than having a spiritual quiet time. I would arrive at the office an hour before everyone else to pray and read - and it WAS helpful and refreshing. But as Branden has written, creativity needs time for the mind to "float and wander and roam." Creativity needs for the mind to explore what's outside the "box" of our common tasks and thoughts. One of my favorite things to do during that time was to wander the
aisles of the local Christian bookstore. At the time I didn't know why I enjoyed it so much but I realize that it was my time to let my mind wander away from the tasks at hand, explore some different trails, and maybe bring back a few ideas that would be useful someday.
It's kind of like forestry. You start with a limited number of trees and if you cut down those trees without planting more, you will soon be out of trees. Since hindsight is 20/20, if I had it to do again I would make sure I took the time to let my mind explore and grow
despite guilty feelings or what it looked like to the type A pastor or what it looked like to the rest of the world. And I would hang Nathaniel Branden's quote on my wall.
So, how's YOUR creativity?