Some days can feel tedious. To escape, you may be tempted to get online and scroll tropical beach vacations or snowy wonderlands. Ah, if only I could transport myself there tomorrow, you wish.
While teleporting to the Bahamas may be out of reach, magic is not.
When I get that closed-in feeling, I have found a reliable (but not foolproof) solution. I clear time on my calendar – a day, an afternoon – and go explore. Generally, I try to go someplace new-to-me (a restaurant, different neighborhood, even an open house) with a very loose plan. I simply follow my curiosity from there. This creative wandering not only re-ignites my aliveness, but my creative projects as well.
For instance, one morning my husband and I decided to visit a new art gallery in Austin. As we were excitedly flitting from painting to sculpture, the art director noticed our interest and invited us to a private gallery opening that evening. Heck yes!
Then my husband Charley followed his curiosity and asked if there was any art hidden away that perhaps we could see? A knowing gleam twinkled in her eye as she led us to a private room where we got to see a powerful, $12,000,0000 original Banksy (a renowned, elusive artist). She went on to tell us the incredible story about how they got it, which included mysterious flights to London, an unmarked warehouse and bumping into Rihanna.
We finished the day at the high energy art opening, followed by drinks where Charley and I discussed our personal creative passions and what had lit up in us that day. We both felt we had entered some sort of alternate, magical universe where we got to play and let loose a different side of ourselves.
Coincidence? Not really. While we can’t guarantee magic every time, I have found a willingness to explore without “results,” plus an open mind and a sense of humor will often lead me to something – even if it’s just a new insight.
The next weekend, we decided to explore again and went on a 3-day trip to Dallas. The temperature hit 106 degrees, so it definitely wasn’t one of those dream trips one fantasizes about. But once again, we committed to following our curiosity and interest rather than spirit crushing thoughts like “it’s too hot to enjoy life.”
Early morning, sitting outside local Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, curiosity led us to a bulletin board splattered in posters. We were intrigued by one that said “Art Event” and even better, it was happening that afternoon!
Several hours later we found ourselves at an 80-year-old historic church that had fallen into disrepair. We walked through the doors of what looked like a giant lighthouse and discovered that local artists had been commissioned to paint the church pews. The profits from selling them would go towards refurbishing the church and turning it into a community space for Creators.
Fascinated, we perused the pews and both stopped in front of a colorful one with Aztec poetry, cacti and a double-headed serpent. We looked at each other, nodded, and 30 minutes later we were driving home from Dallas with a pew in the bed of my husband’s truck.
It sits in our sunroom now and every time I see it, it reminds me of the magic in following our curiosity, letting wonder guide the day. As Martha Beck says, “Curiosity is the muse alive in us.” And the Muse doesn’t care if she is on a tropical beach or a sweltering Texas church… she just wants to be invited to play.
I’d love to hear your thoughts — feel free to share in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
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September 23-25, 2022
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In the Hill Country outside Austin, Texas
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Maria Gatling says
I love this so much! You have reminded me of these simple things that always surprise us and feed our souls. I immediately thought of this quote and remembered the time you invited me to go listen to him speak. Thank you. “Ultimately, what we need to do is get out from behind the desk and the chores from time to time and create opportunities for our souls.” Gregg Levoy
Beautiful quote, thank you!
Joanne Holladay says
Thanks for reminding me Carolyn of the creative opportunities abounding nearby. For example there’s a new French bakery on Airport Blvd. And I’m longing to take my young great niece and nephew to Austin’s Museum of Ice Cream! Fun to look forward to.
I didn’t realize there was a museum of ice-cream — will have to visit!
This really works, I’ve tried it several times, after you suggested it and it never fails to being a little burst of joy and hope. Even if it is, as simple as, finding a yummy new chocolate croissant!
Lisa Capehart says
What a great reminder, Carolyn! Thank you so much for this post!
Seems we always need reminders, don’t we…
Love this post and I’ve known what you say to be very true and fun!