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Be Idle – Then Create

Be Idle – Then Create

By Bart Astor  

When you’re overwhelmed with stuff—all the life and business things that make up your daily routine—you usually don’t feel too creative. There’s a gap that grows between your psyche and your spirit. It gnaws at you. You can’t even put a finger on what or why, but you feel the gap. In my experience you generally can’t will yourself to be creative, although many artists writers say that discipline and focus can bring out your creativity.

When you’re totally absorbed in your job, family matters, daily routine, and the business of life, you’re on the go. Even your brain is moving. It can’t keep up and it certainly can’t rattle around like it needs to do to be creative. There’s no time for that.

But that’s where your creativity comes from. It comes from nothing. It comes when you’re not running. It comes from stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. You get a whiff and suddenly there are no deadlines or chores in your way. You’re not bored you’re idle. And while it says in Proverbs (16:27-29), “idle brains are the devil’s workshop,” neuroscientists have found that important activity in the brain—related in particular to memory and learning, the foundation of creativity—may occur when it is at rest.

I went to see the Broadway show, “Beautiful”, the show about Carole King and her music. It’s a totally fun show and the music is fantastic of course. See it if you can. The story line—all about Carole King—is really about inspiration and writing from your heart. I have to say that it made me envious. It made me want to do more writing from the heart, not from the wallet.

So stop for a bit. Slow down. Let your brain rattle around. Get bored. Listen to your insides. You don’t have to be doing something every minute. Remember those moments when you wake up in the middle of the night and you lie there thinking, “I have to go to sleep. I have to go to sleep. I have to do this and that and I have to go to sleep NOW!”

Doesn’t work, does it? At one point you get tired, your brain stops cranking, and suddenly it’s a couple of hours later, with you awakening from a pretty good bit of rest. You may not remember anything you thought about hours ago. But you feel pretty good.

It’s the same with creativity. You just have to let all those creativity neurons fire when they need to, not when other neurons tell them to.

Be idle. Then create.

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Bart Astor

Bart Astor at Bart Astor
Bart Astor is a recognized expert in life’s transitions and eldercare. His book, AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices about Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle, and Pursuing Your Dreams, was released in May, 2013 and was #1 in Amazon’s retirement planning category for 6 consecutive weeks and a Washington Post best seller. His unexpected personal journey led him to write his best-selling book, Baby Boomer’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents, now in its second printing and critically regarded for being today’s must-have healthcare resource. Bart has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “MarketPlace,” Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money,” AARP Radio, and Boomer’s Rock radio. His perspective comes from personal experience, both good and bad, and sometimes that’s what matters most.