Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Peel back your skull a little and let me in for a minute...

I do find it interesting that several people are saying that we had no class this week... (FYI - I am not mad, just interested in this reaction, therefore, here are my thoughts and intentions with this exercise.) Warning, this will probably be a long post that no one except me will be interested in. But isn't that, after all, the beauty of a blog? A place where you can prattle on to imaginary people about your innermost thoughts with the notion that someone, somewhere in the entire world might read it and give a crap about what you think??? Sorry, I drifted there for a second... Back to the defense of an imaginary class...

While we did not meet in one location at one time (as every traditional class in the world usually does, with the exception of a field trip, which is still usually taken together) are you really sure we are not having class this week?

What is a class, anyway? Isn't it a place where you go to learn things in a guided way? Who says it has to all be together physically or chronologically? What does that make a distance education course? I propose that assignments like this are sometimes more important than traditional ones. There. I said it. Doing "nothing" is as important, sometimes, as learning Maya, or inorganic chemistry. It is also a way to learn. But our society does not place value on learning "nothing." To those who do not understand my motives with this course, an exercise like this week's "class meeting" is frivolous and a waste of time that could be used to actually educate you about something "important." You, and I, have been reared in this society that only values work and logic (but really money and status - oops, sorry again.) Therefore, when faced with a class like yesterday, your natural assumption is that we just did not have class. But that is precisely why you are in this class in the first place. Well, that, and the fact that it is an easy class where you don't have to actually do anything to pass. (Do you still believe that, if you did on the first day? If so, then I have failed you...) Open your eyes, but really more importantly, open your mind! I firmly believe we did have class this week, just not in the way you were expecting. I have shaken your solid idea of what a class is, or at least that is what I am trying to do...

Just because we are not sitting at little desks inside the same 4 walls does not mean we are not having class this week. Could it be that this is a new way of seeing the concept of a class meeting? What if I am giving you the freedom to be your own teacher, mentor, guide, task master, instructor (insert your own word here...) while still laying out a carefully crafted plan for you to follow? Do the blogs not count as class discussions, assuming you write them and the other class participants read them? You can even comment on one another’s' entries... Hmmm, there is a teacher, there are participants, there is a plan of study, and there is discussion and an open exchange of ideas... Sounds like a class to me. But this is a class you can have anywhere, anytime, forever and ever, if you want to open your mind to this idea... (Pass the Kool-Aid, would you?)

This is a course designed to change the way you view the world around you, and this is just one of the exercises I have created to guide you on your personal journey toward a more creative way of seeing your world (or, mwahaha, living your life!) Apparently my goal is world domination, one student at a time! But only if I get the cool lab coat and those shiny metal sticks that conduct electric pulses to the ceiling while my half finished creature lies prone on the table... Oops, sorry. Drifted again. (See? Isn't this just like class - I can't stay on one thought in my blog, either!)

What if you (being me) show the students (being you) that there is actually value (greatly undervalued value) in giving yourself the gift of time so that by following your own true interests you can possibly bubble up a well of creative thought/ideas from that contented pool in the center of your mind. or at the very least, allowing for sanctioned "play" (oh, that dirty, dirty word) allows you to relax enough to get rid of a little stress, thereby stalling that headache, heart attack, ulcer (insert your own malady) a little longer.

I have been a creative professional long enough to know (at least for me) that good ideas only really come when I stop trying so hard to make them happen. Spontaneity is my friend! And so is daydreaming, or just relaxing. I sometimes get my best ideas when I am in the shower and not thinking about anything other than if I already washed there yet and where has this soap been...? (Sorry, TMI...)

In today's world we are never taught to look after ourselves, unless it is in the form of prepackaged allotments of time purchased from your favorite supplier (therapist, personal trainer, yoga instructor, doctor - none of them work for free - we have to pay for what they offer... hey wait a minute, you paid to take this class... I feel so dirty... see shower comment above...) But the skill I am giving you with this exercise is the idea that you can take time out to do your favorite thing occasionally and the world will not necessarily end. And (here's the real power of this tool) if you can do this spontaneously and steal a little "me" (meaning "you") time when you find yourself just overwhelmed with things the illicit quality of that time makes it even more meaningful. Therefore I forced you to cut class this week - sort of...

We have a finite amount of time in this world, so why shouldn't you be in charge of some of it? If you work 8 hours a day, sleep 8 hours a day, and live your entire life in the other 8 hours of each 24 within a day, then you are only living 1/3 of your life... And that 1/3 is chock full of driving, bills, taxes, doctor's visits, cleaning the toilet, cooking dinner, attending awkward social events, plunging the toilet, school, working some overtime to pay for the new toilet you need because you just shouldn't eat some things, attending funerals, etc. But if you can find ways to reclaim a little of that time for doing what others would call "nothing" then you might be a little happier and in a better place to do everything you have to do. It has to do with mental health as much as it does creativity.

Of course, this all relates to our lessons about repercussions of actions. You need to be responsible with this tool of blowing off stuff occasionally to do something you want to do. If you do it too often or if you ditch the wrong thing (like work, or an important meeting) it may have an adverse effect on your wellbeing. The real point of this is that I am asking you to look at what is important to you. No one but you can possibly really know the answer to that, and you might not even know. But you will, eventually. By taking time out from an obligation (a formal class meeting this week) I am asking you to do what is best for you with the time you would have spent sitting at a desk. But actually I am asking you to evaluate your priorities. What is the thing that gives you the most satisfaction? That is an evaluation. When is it OK to pull this technique from your arsenal of creativity tools and use it? That is an evaluation. What would be the repercussions to using this tool at any given time? That is an evaluation. How important or useful is this exercise to you? That is an evaluation... See how it works?

And here’s the real kicker… You can take charge of your own life and your own class this week. And if you can do that for this week, what will next week be like? Could this be a little like tossing a rock into a smooth pond??? Might you remember this much longer than if we met and talked about the idea of being free instead of living that idea???

Now is happening, the future doesn’t exist now, and the past is over now. So what will you do now? Is doing actually doing?

I am tired now. Goodbye.

5 comments:

morethanrubies said...

interesting and very
L O N G blog.
but i enjoyed it, you seem to share similar thoughts with me, i love the beginning where you talk about "writing a blog and wondering if anyone in the world would give a crap enough to just read it"

i wonder the same thing.

Pascal said...

This blog is really long. But I'll have to admit that you are getting the point to me very well.

Greg W said...

"Now is happening, the future doesn’t exist now, and the past is over now."

Sounds familiar somehow...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNIwlRClHsQ

spyroterra said...

OMG! I had forgotten that scene in Spaceballs! Apparently I did not completely forget it...

nullx42 said...

tl;dr