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Bouquets to Art; Deep Bows to Creativity

Bouquets to Art; Deep Bows to Creativity

I recently walked through the Bouquets to Art exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, an annual festival of local florists, garden clubs, landscape architects, etc. each creating a floral sculpture embodying a painting/sculpture in the museum. (As above.) Hundreds of them.

And as I walked through, delight, amazement, wonder, and awe bubbling up spontaneously, I quite suddenly had an artistic image of my own. Three or four human figures, each transparently showing layers and layers of images – their lives in a montage of sleeping in a crib, throwing a frisbee, playing tag with friends, riding a bike to school, doing their algebra homework, their first kiss, moving into an apartment. Etc. hundreds of images. And when people meet and say hello to each other, they are really embodying and saying hello to these hundreds of layers of a life already lived and still present in the psyche.

It’s not about having the talent or time to produce such an artistic work; I’m not capable of that. But I immediately realized that my imagination could even conjure up such an image because I was immersed in other people’s creativity in the moment. A field of curiosity and inventiveness.

Default mode processing of the brain par excellence. Essential for problem solving, and thus resilience, and we can cultivate that capacity.

In previous posts [Cultivating Awe is Awesome for the Brain] I’ve suggested visiting an art gallery or museum to let experiencing another person’s expression of creativity and awe evoke similar emotions or processes in you. (As happened for me viewing the creations in Bouquets to Art.) You don’t even have to move on to producing what you’re imagining. (Though of course, you can if you wish; that’s using different networks in the brain to produce what you have imagined.) Simply experiencing ourselves “thinking outside of the box” teaches us that we can; that we can cultivate the capacities to see events in completely new ways, an important nourishment of our resilience.

Exercise

1. Immerse yourself in nature – a park, a garden, a forest – and notice everything as if seeing it for the first time. Bring a wide-eyed curiosity to every tree and blade of grass, every bend in the road, every cloud in the sky.

2. Visit a good museum or art gallery or attend a top-notch concert or play. Let the creative expressions of others who have experienced awe transmit that experience to you. Notice shifts in your own perspective and sense of possibilities; your own creativity emerging.

3. Review your own past experiences of awe: photographs from hiking in a national park or touring one of the great cities of the world, or the birth of your first child. This review can be especially helpful when the daily grind is getting you down: it reminds you that the world is still a magical place, full of mystery and potential.

4. Find an online video of an inspiring speech or performance, or describing a scientific discovery. Watch it with an attitude of openness and readiness to be inspired and uplifted, and to notice and savor the moments of awe and creativity as they happen.

Opportunities to evoke creativity are practically infinite. Experiencing awe creates a new habit to pay attention, shift the functioning of your brain, and nourish your resilience. Enjoy.

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