Author Julia Cameron points out that one of the most valuable tools for creativity is one of the simplest — walking.
When she wrote THE ARTIST’S WAY she didn’t address exercise until week 12 in the program. In IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN AGAIN: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, which was written twenty-five years after THE ARTIST’s WAY, she discusses walking in the introduction and makes it one of four basic tools for expanding ones creativity.
“Walking is an exercise in receptivity. As we walk, we fill the creative well. We notice new images and make new connections… we knit together many notes in the melody of life.”
Cameron also points out that:
“For many of us, walking solves the problems of daily living. Not only does it bring structure — it brings answers, too. We may walk out with a problem, but the odds are excellent that we will walk back in with a solution.”
As a daily, if not twice daily walker, I find that a simple walk outdoors in the morning awakens my senses. During that walk, I see, hear, smell, and touch my environment. And when I get back home that first cup of coffee taste infinitely better. And, somehow, with all my senses fully refreshed and activated I start my day with a sense that so many more things seem possible.
“When we connect with nature, we have something to share. When we connect with nature, we forge further connections, to those around us, to our higher self, to our past and our future. Our world expands.”
Walking in the evening is my way of processing the day and shelving it for the night. As I reconnect with my environment, I disconnect from my “work” of the day. The walking pace is slower than in the morning and it allows me to shift gears, letting conversations and thoughts replay through my mind or simply archive themselves for the next day or later use. So ya, there are plenty of creative multitasking going on.
I do have a small quibble with Cameron, when she suggests walking “without dog, friend or cell phone.” Yes, of course, leave the cell phones or any other distracting mechanical devices at home. But if your are a writer or someone whose day is focused on narrow thoughts and problems or requires much introspection, walking with your dog, spouse and/or friend can be the perfect way to recharge and expand your creativity.
So if you want to master a better path to creative multitasking, leave your devices at home and take a walk in nature. Do it for the exercise, the creativity, the receptivity, the connectivity, the structure, the problem solving, the letting go, and, for just having fun!
And when you come back from your walk, find a quiet corner to read IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN AGAIN by Julia Cameron and explore all the basic tools for expanding your creativity — Morning Pages, Memoir, Artist Dates, and Walking!