Be Healthier, Live Longer By Being Creative!

THE SPEED OF LIFE

How fast life goes by these days! We try to slow it down by recording it with camcorders, writing diaries, scrap booking and journals. We use whatever media available today to capture the events of our lives and to account for our pasts, which were the presents we missed while we were speeding ahead into the future. And, while we are busy showing our videos and e-mailing photos to all of our friends, life is happening. Meanwhile, what about the present? Isn’t that what we are missing by going so fast? Past and present are always there, flashing behind and ahead. It is only the present moment that we can control. And how do we do it? Not very well, because we are always looking at the past for clues on how to make a better future and looking to the future with hopes and dreams, trying to figure out how to get there. We are perpetually out of time.

LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST

How can we live our lives to the fullest in the present moment? How can we get off the “fast track” and slow down enough to appreciate every minute? We can meditate, do yoga, or simply spend some moments sitting in a quiet setting and letting our minds calm down, attempting to reduce the noisy, chaotic input that life delivers to us daily. All of these methods are pretty good guidelines for enriching our present moments. But, is there another, less passive and more active, enjoyable way to engage ourselves fully in the moment?Is there a way of enriching our present moments? Yes, there is, and it is through creativity.

LOOKING INWARD

Did you know that by using your imaginative and creative abilities you can slow down time and enrich the moments of your life? How does this work? Simply and easily. In any creative act such as writing, painting, or drawing–you must look inward. When you do this you have a dialogue with the inner creative you, and time slows. Every minute spent in this endeavor is a very rich minute. This dynamic can be compared to traveling the longitudes rather that the latitudes of time. In this delving, vertical movement, you are inquiring, exploring, and discovering rich data in your brain with the idea of translating it into a visual experience that can communicate the amazing intricacies of yourself to others. Through six creative projects you will discover The Artist Within You. Here are two of the six projects:

THE ARTIST WITHIN YOU PROJECT: SOUL NOURISHMENT THROUGH DOODLING

Creating from your imagination, rallying your creative powers nourishes your body, mind and soul. Anguish, anxiety and stress can be released by doodling. And there is much to be discovered by what you doodle–just making lines and squiggles on paper. Are they meaningless? Not in a heartbeat! Doodling projects completed by groups of students reveal images that resonate with personal goals, concerns, dreams and beliefs. Doodling is a powerful and revealing learning context that gently brings students to consult their own creative powers.

The project requires only a pencil or pen and a few sheets of paper. Make swirls, dots, dashes, or lines, whatever you want on the sheet of paper. Take three minutes. Look carefully at your doodles. What do you see? Faces? Animals? An ocean? Often the image is about something you’ve been thinking about. Now, emphasize the images by darkening the lines around them. Add lines to clarify the images.

Now do another doodle. This time close your eyes. Take three minutes and make any kind of marks and lines you want. Now open you eyes and examine your work. What do you see? Be sure to turn the paper upside down to see other images. Emphasize the images you have found with dark lines and add lines or marks to clarify your images. If you are in a group, pass your doodle to the person on your right and ask them if they see anything in your doodle. If you are working be yourself, enlist the vision of a friend or family member to help you see additional images. Ask the person to add darker lines to clarify what they see.

Write about one of the doodle images. You can relate the image to something you have been involved with, a dream, a nightmare, or an idea. Whatever it is, attach a meaning and definition to the image. Explain your writing to the group, friend or family member. Ask them to write a meaning and definition about their image.

THE ARTIST WITHIN YOU PROJECT: VERBAL/VISUAL/WRITING SKILLS

The project requires three photos of you (1) When you were young (2) When you were older (3) A recent photo, plus a few sheets of paper and a small bottle of glue or tape. Write about each photo-how old you were, what you were doing and what, perhaps, you were thinking. Work to clarify and condense your information into three separate paragraphs.

Take three separate sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. Glue or tape one photo up at the top of each sheet. Write the pertinent paragraph under the photo. Then, below your paragraph, draw a series of symbols or icons that communicate the photo and sentence information. Imagine that the symbols or icons you put down will describe the information to someone who can’t read.

Writing a clear and concise definition of a picture hones your writing communication skills. Translating your memories and experiences into simple pictures acquaints you with the creative process required to depict a certain subject. Additionally, describing the photo in simple and clear terms that anyone can understand (you can share your description with a friend or, in a group setting, discuss the photo with others) develops your verbal skills. In a group, the sharing of this information is always interesting and highly interactive. If you do this on your own and share your experience with a friend, you will be sharing an intimate perspective of yourself that will enrich your relationship.

THE TIME LAPSE PHENOMENA

You may notice, through doing The Artist Within projects, an interesting time-lapse phenomena. Often, the session, which is an hour long, seems to go very quickly. Students often comment that at the same time, it seems very concentrated. They say that they feel that they have accomplished a great deal in a short period of time (and, indeed, they have.) They have been creating unique forms, delving into their thoughts, activating their imaginations and sharing their experiences verbally and in writing to others.

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