Out On A Whimsy

In today’s results-driven world, a person’s value is often equated with the work she produces. Be it handmade goods, a small business or a best-selling book, it’s all about creating things that turn a profit. Pressure to capitalize on creativity is stressful for even the most ambitious professional, diminishing her wellspring of inspiration and leaving her thirsty for something more — or maybe, something less.

Pause for just a moment, and let your thoughts drift to summers of childhood, to the days when there was no greater achievement than building a castle of sand, a corral of twigs or a miniature dam of river stones. You knew that nature would soon come to claim your masterpiece, and yet you worked in earnest, laboring over intricacies that would crumble before your eyes.

As a child, you understood that the creative process was more than a means to an end. It was the essence of time well spent. Sure, there were tears shed over the indifference of rain and the tides, but you did it all over again the next day. Why? That’s easy: because it feels good to create, just for the heck of it.

People have long incorporated ephemeral, or short-lived, artistry into sacred rituals. Consider the incredible effort with which Buddhist sand painters create their works of art. These elaborately detailed and colorful designs, which could be ruined by a single breath, can take a team of monks several weeks to build. And once finished, the painting is systematically swept away, collected in a jar, and cast over the landscape. Releasing the work is thought to spread the many blessings that went into it, and the act of willingly letting go also inspires acceptance of the ephemeral nature of all things. Imagine the exhilaration of setting a precious creation free and sharing that sweet sense of liberation with the world. Pretty amazing!

Of course, not all of us have the time or artistic inclination to create sand paintings, but there are countless little works of whimsy at your fingertips — even during a workday — that can help free your mind and fuel your creative fire. Here are a few ideas to get you started (just remember to gather the good vibes you generate and set them free!).

1. Play in the Sand
You can still have hours of fun “playing” in the sand — all you need is a mini Zen garden. Make your own with basic household materials and the instructions found at TheMagicOnions.blogspot.com.

2. Doodle
Sounds too simple to be true, but doodling is a time-tested way to free your mind and focus more clearly at the same time. Plus, the results can be delightful! Dive into the details with “Doodle Drawing” at Allaboutdrawings.com

3. Stack Sticks and Stones
I love this option because it’s a great excuse to get outside. Spend some downtime balancing a stack of stones, or incorporate leaves and twigs into a work of woodland art. Find a whopping dose of inspiration at JRLandArt.blogspot.com.


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