THIS IS A REPOST OF SUE ASHBY’S MARVELOUS BLOGPOST/WRITING EXERCISE. I found it so intriguing and inspiring that I did the exercise myself, picking a quiet place to sit and listen, see, smell, taste and touch. (of course, it should come as no surprise that it was nearly midnight, but those of you who know me, realize that finding me somewhere in the sunshine of a summer’s day is about as rare a thing as stumbling across a zebra-stripped unicorn wearing a fedora)…but I digress. MY observations are listed below the copyright info by Sue. Sadly, Sue’s blog is no longer open, but her marvelous inspiration lives on….
When my mind gets stuck on the outer beauty of anything, my writing suffers horribly. Even more so, my entire tank of creative juices drain away until I find my self channel surfing for a distraction from my own stagnation. Consequently, I get absolutely nothing accomplished.
Back in the early 1980’s I did a lot of backpacking in Colorado’s magnificent wilderness areas, and never went anywhere without a journal and pen. Quickly, I discovered my own “Zen zone” as I call it. It is a state of complete relaxation surrounded by the splendors of earth and nature, where I find the flow of creative energy. This exercise can be done anywhere, and at all times of day or night in any weather. It is also easily adjustable to suit your own personal needs. One simply needs to empty all the tumultuous thoughts from your mind and focus for a short time on your immediate surroundings.
The entire concept revolves around utilizing all of your senses to inspect, observe and sift through every nuance of your surroundings within five or ten square feet of where you are sitting. With imagination this also works very well using photographs.
With paper and pen, find your desired mini retreat and make yourself comfortable. In parenthesis write down each of your five senses side by side, or each one on a separate piece of paper. Now mentally dissect every facet of the things around you, reducing everything to its most minute particle. I start mine like this;
Small puffy white clouds
Round, angular, fractured, pointy
Pinks, peaches, white, browns
Bright green moss
Curly pale green lichen
Blue jays, etc.
Dry, dusty, hard
Flows through fingers
Points, smooth pieces
Soft like fur
Thick like carpet, and so on.
Once your lists are in detail and complete, contemplate, toss in human interactions, reactions, situations and emotions. This exercise can help create a storm of lively and solid scenes for a storm of creative projects. If nothing else, it is always good to empty your mind and contemplate the little things which really are so beautiful.
Copyright 7-12-2016, by Sue Ashby.
Photograph Copyright 7-12-2016, by Sue Ashby.
Lying back upon the grass in my quiet little yard under the glimmering glow of a nearly full moon, I closed my eyes to
(Listen) : hearing most prominently the whirring sound of many a/c units running. Once I put that aside however, I heard the gentle whisper of the breeze telling me secrets from far away and the occasional chirp of a bird (which always makes my imagination stir. Why do they sing at night? Are they having a bad dream? Did some creature steal into the nursery to snatch a fledgling? Or are they, too, simply enjoying the shimmering show of the moon?) I heard the distant rumble of a train and, as ever, the garish noise of traffic from the city not far enough away.
(See): Opening my eyes, I saw first the spectacle of the moon, dancing amid a rolling tide of puffy white clouds sailing effortlessly across the sky. I saw the shadows of trees across the way and the rustling of their leafy tresses as the night breezes ran its fingers through their hair. I noticed a nearby rabbit, no doubt awaiting another slice of apple as I am in a habit of giving them apples in the evening; and of course I saw the stars: those delicate sparkles of ethereal light that ever fill me with lyrical musing (but that is another post!)
(Smell): I drew a deep breath and smelled the warm humidity that hung on the air like heavy fog mixed with a hint of asphalt from the nearby road. Not terribly pleasant, but not repulsive. Clean, hot night air. Nothing more.
(Taste): Since I was not eating or drinking, I tasted nothing. Not a wasted sense, though, as I certainly could have been sipping sweet lemonade.
(Touch): Reaching down I ran my fingers through the July grass that is rapidly drying up and turning into something much more straw-like than it once had been. I tousled the heads of a few clover, now resting from the scurrying-hurrying bees that plunder their sweetness all the day long; and I reached outward to caress the sky, feeling the warm blush of the air against my palms and slipping through my fingers as I sighed deeply and smiled, meditating upon the simple yet profound Blessing of five extraordinary senses.
I do so hope you will try this wonderful exercise, if not to stir the inspiration of your thoughts, at least to Kindle the wonder of your spirit in the Beauty of the world around us.
Thank You SUE for such a delightful suggestion!