Music is a gift. Those who are able to create and share it in a way that connects us to each other is remarkable. I feel sad for those who close their ears and minds to experiencing all music can offer due to ignorance, misinterpretation of lyrics or inability to appreciate different perspectives.
Whether it be live or virtual, I find it inspiring to be a part of an audience united in a common appreciation for excellent, relevant and soul-touching music. Last night was one of those exceptional opportunities. I was one of thousands at the Foo Fighters‘ concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
All I can say is that it was one of the best rock shows I ever experienced . . . ever. The Foo Fighters are no pretenders. They are extraordinary performers who inspire, entertain and connect. Rare and true rock talent such as this is legendary. Dave Grohl and his band mates connected with us — their audience — from the time they took the stage until the conclusion of their performance three hours later.
What sparks your creative energy? My top eight include cleaning, gardening, and walking. Add in some MP3 tunes from Foo Fighters, U2 or Pink Floyd; and the ideas blow my mind. In fact, I’m listening to Pink Floyd’s Blue Sky as I type.
At times it’s challenging to keep up with what my brain produces during these sessions. I use a pen and journal book to record snippets of ideas while I clean or garden. These tools are old-school. But, they are easy to keep nearby for note-taking.
I have also been taking my camera with me everywhere, recently. That way I am ready to snap a shot anytime, anywhere. While my smart phone has a camera, I seem to prefer my husband’s Canon PowerShot. I think it takes better pictures and provides me with more options for enhancing my impromptu photo sessions.
Visual and written references of big-picture thoughts help me remember ideas when I am at my computer creating. Here’s a look at my Top 8 creative energy sparks… What are yours?
1. Cleaning has three distinct benefits. I end up with a clean house and hours of exercise as well as buckets of material for blogs, conflict resolution strategies, date night plans, and play activities to try with my children.
2. Gardening is therapeutic. What could be better? I am outdoors in the warm sunshine helping nature be beautiful around my home. My creative energy surges as I watch things grow and flourish.
3. Mowing the lawn is an activity my husband and I mud wrestle over. I believe he realizes the same benefits as I do from this mindless, thought-invoking chore. He amps Godsmack on his MP3 and away he mows.
4. Walking after my children go to bed is a mini-vacation for me. It’s one hour of downtime to stride along with the bunnies and frogs while thinking about whatever comes to mind. There are no interruptions for snacks, drinks, advice, phone calls or help with finding the remote control.
5. Running or elliptical training unleashes my competitive spirit. If I need a boost before writing a blog post I go for five miles in 30 minutes while watching some light TV or a movie with eye candy.
6. Listening to music moves me in a number of different directions. The direction depends on so many variables such as weather, mood, energy level, motivation, etc.
7. Writing opens my mind to thoughts I may not have considered before. I try to write without editing. But, sometimes, the perfectionist in me trumps the moment; and stifles the process.
8. Praying/meditation enables reflection on ideas I think have more merit than others. During prayer or meditation, my mind is often cleared of clutter. I just think about whatever comes into my brain. After an hour or so, I seem to feel a better sense of direction on what an idea might lead; or if it just a dead-end to be left behind.
A few weeks ago, I watched Piers Morgan interview Oprah on CNN. One of the most engaging, memorable sound bites was when Oprah talked about living in the moment. She talked about being able to thoroughly enjoy the dialogue with Morgan because she was focused specifically on life in that particular moment; not about the past and not about the future. Oprah identified living in the moment as one of her greatest life achievements.
I have been thinking about this portion of the interview for some time. Living in the moment is an ability to aspire to. But, is this a reality anyone can really achieve? Can anyone truly filter out — completely — all past reflections and forward thinking while doing something else at any given moment, consistently?
As I write this post, I am living in the moment; focused on the topic at hand. I am also listening to Foo Fighters and thinking about making my daughter’s lunch for school in 30 minutes.
But, I believe Oprah’s challenge was to savor each living moment we have; because our past is just that; and the future is unknown. Anything could happen. The irony of my reflections is that a girlfriend and I discussed this very issue just a few nights after the Morgan-Oprah interview. It was Janurary 15 and we had attended a Pistons’ game with our husbands. We were nicely surprised to witness a win against the Sacramento Kings. As we drove home from Auburn Hills, the roads were slushy and snow flurried across the windshield. It was a cold, dark night. All of us expressed how anxious we were for spring. My girlfriend agreed, but noted we were wishing our lives away. By thinking forward to March and April were not allowing ourselves to truly enjoy what we had that evening.
She was so right. The fun, cozy night began with a delicious Mexican meal at Miguel’s Catina in Rochester, Mich. Our good times continued with coffee at Caribou and then the Pistons’ game with fantastic seats in Section 102, Row E complements of a charitable organization I made a donation to in November. The four of us had it all; and we still do even in arctic-like Shelby Township, Mich.