Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Sanctuary Where I Could Forget Who I Was

"I wanted to create spaces where people felt held." About a year ago, I started tinkering with scale. Not sure why. Probably because I moved to a city that was big enough for me. My first experiment was blowing up photographs to poster size. That changed my entire experience of what a picture can be. Next, I began thinkmapping on twenty-foot dry erase walls. That rejiggered my entire creative strategy process. Lastly, I started playing concerts in the park underneath the historic tunnel arch. That allowed me to find notes I didn't know existed. Man. Scale changes everything. Inspired by an enormous yarn installation.

"You look down at all these hungry little beaks, and you say to them, 'Which of you needs to be fed?'" This article on journaling got me thinking. You don't decide what you want to write, you listen for what wants to be written. You don't decide how to solve the problem, you allow the solution to present itself. You don't ring the bell, you invite the bell to sound. It's like the Quakers, who practice silence until someone is moved to speak. I like approaching life in that way. It's more relaxing.

"Don’t require them to think as hard about this as you have." Awesome article about collaboration from Derek Sivers about minimizing the burden of your coworkers. I've been practicing that a lot at lately. Overthinking early and often, but then giving my team an annotated version. Look, people are busy. They don't have time to go down the rabbit hole with me. Their brains need a break. Good advice.

"You only get so far if you work by staring at a screen, because the resolution of the paper page is much higher." It's not a waste of paper if it alters my perception of the work. That's how I rationalize. By printing out pages of notes, sticking them on the wall and squinting at them from afar, I can see patterns previous unavailable to me. I can literally touch my ideas and become more intimate with them. Plus, it blows out the canvas. Why limit myself to seventeen inches of glass when I could spread my stuff all over the floor and stand above it like a mad scientist admiring his creation?

"A sanctuary where I could forget who I was." We all need a place where we can disappear. A divine refuge that allows us to lose all sense of self and just melt into the floor. No expectations. No accountability. Nothing but the people we were before the world told us who we needed to be. Pure freedom, pure creation. It's the safe haven that restores us. Wow. I don't know how people survive without one.