creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Natural Resources 2: The Walk of Life

I thought I would continue sharing some pictures from a wonderful afternoon spent walking along Puget Sound in Seattle in early November. I like to capture still photographs and videos of the environment to study and remind me of the beauty of the natural resources. Those images can stand on their own, come in handy as components in the future in any number of ways through collage or art pieces, or serve to inspire a completely different work. The key is going on an artist’s expedition/walk and opening up to the surroundings.

Taking long walks that allow an artist to clear the mind, gain from the environment and receive inspiration are key ingredients in a myriad of creative consulting methods. Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way considers regular walks one of the three basics. It is a theme I’ve heard echoed by many mentors and read in many books on the subject. I have certainly found immense value in them and will continue to explore the theme in various ways during future blogs. And now, science agrees to the great benefit of walking!

Various scientific studies* have shown a good walk is not just good for the body, but excellent for the health of the brain in building connectivity between brain circuits. Apparently there are several distinct brain circuits, one of them called the Default Mode Network (DMN), which dominates all brain activity when people are least engaged with the outside world, which includes the act of passively observing and daydreaming. Having greater connectivity enhances a myriad of brain functions and can help stave off the decline that comes with aging. While the studies focus on how important it is for aerobic/brisk walking once a week for a full year to see results, I would postulate that taking walks with a creatively-focused agenda can do wonders as well. 

Creative walks keep the mind curious and engaged! Walks are also excellent for problem solving and stress reduction. There’s a history of great minds gaining key inspirations when they went out walking. The act of movement and shift of location and energy resources likely shift our thinking as well, allowing whatever challenging puzzles are on the mind to take on new arrangements and solutions.

Some recommendations:
Employ a variety of approaches to your walking experience. At times you can keep it brisk for exercise and other moments slowing down to carefully observe the natural resources around you. Take in the big and small views. Keep a curious mind and make a game of your walking experience.
DON’T answer your phone; talking to someone else keeps you disconnected from the world around you and you’ll immediately lose those brain benefits. DO take along any or all of the following: a camera to build up your own personal library of image, a little sketch book or notepad along with you in case you need to draw or write something down, a tape recorder to record your voice or song. 

Each walk offers up a new batch of features and a new way to connect patterns of the outside world that can enhance your inside world’s neuro-circuitry. Each walk will offer up a little treasure to savor.

So I know it might be funny talking about the importance of walking during the wintertime for the northern climates, but come on, what are you doing still sitting there?
Go give your brain a walk!

* for specific details and study info read this article:

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