The word is out about boredom.
Evidently it’s a precursor to creativity. Who knew? I sure didn’t. I recently read a newspaper article claiming that it’s so. And others have been on to it well before me. In fact, if you google boredom and creativity, up comes a bundle of info.
Apparently, when we give in to boredom, our imaginations kick into high gear because we can only tolerate it for so long.
Alternately, when we cut off boredom, we run the risk of thwarting innovation and new ideas.
I’ve noticed that sometimes people tell me boredom is anathema to them. That they must always be doing something. And yet, their ceaseless movement often contributes to feeling stuck, like they’re spinning their wheels and can’t get anywhere.
Perhaps I’d do well to encourage them to invite boredom in.
These days, though, we rarely greet boredom with welcoming arms, because there are so many opportunities for distraction. There’s always something rather mindless to look at, listen to, read, play with. Right at our fingertips.
I actually have the ability to bore myself silly, though. Is that a super power, I wonder?
Sometimes I distract myself and resist letting boredom leak in. But most of the time I let it wash over me. I’ve never made the connection to creativity, but it makes sense. Because in spite of my run-ins with boredom, I’m fairly creative and somewhat productive. I have lots and lots of ideas. Way more than I could ever bring to fruition.
Boredom can show up when I’m engaged in an activity, like reading a book or working on a piece of writing. Or it creeps in just as I’m about to start something. Then I’m struck with I-don’t-want-to-itis, or I-don’t-feel-like-it-itis. At that point I find it’s best to just give in.
Some might call this procrastination. Thanks to my recent insights, however, I prefer to call it my creative route through boredom.
And little did I realize I actually have a boredom ritual. Here’s how to do it:
First, say aloud: I am so bored! Or, This is boring me! Or, if you’re with a person who loves you very much and understands your quirks, you can occasionally get away with, Dude, this conversation bores me!
Make sure you declare it with a bit of drama, though. A dose of intentional drama is good for boredom. It keeps you from taking yourself too seriously.
Then, step away from the distractions of technology: phones, computer, television, toys. All of it.
Next, turn away from the boredom relieving properties of food. Crunchy crackers and salty nuts have been known to derail my dates with boredom.
Walk around the house aimlessly for a few minutes. Drag your feet. Stop. Stare out a window.
Sprawl sideways across a bed. Fully clothed.
This is very important. You must be sideways and at minimum dressed in sweats, otherwise your body may become confused and think it’s time to sleep. Also, in a pinch you might get the same effect with a couch or a big chair, but a bed is best.
Allow the boredom in. Feel its fullness. Apathetic. Detached. Indifferent. Lethargic. Listless. Whatever.
Sink into it.
Sigh. A big sigh.
Yawn. A big yawn.
Stretch. A big stretch.
Stare at the ceiling. Look at the walls. Glance out the window, if there is one.
Let your mind wander. Unleash it. Watch it unfurl in a disinterested way.
If you’re like me, right about now you’ll experience a click.
You’ll start to daydream.
Let it happen. Give yourself over to it. Allow those creative ideas to bubble up. Trust me, they will.
When it feels right, stop. Get up. Go about your day with renewed vigor, feeling reconnected to the power of your imagination.
That’s it. Simple, huh?
No kidding, I’ve gotten some of my best ideas this way. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes, and I don’t recommend going much beyond that. And if you’re sinking into long spells of boredom that feel particularly dark or hopeless, then you want to seek help.
Oh, one more thing.
You know those times when you come here and it seems kind of blah? You know, those times when you say, “Man, Patty’s talkin’ about meaning again. I’m so bored with that.” (It’s OK, you can admit it.)
Well, now you know. It’s all part of a bigger plan. My small contribution to your creative spirit. Please, no need to thank me. Just keep visiting!