…and how melancholy leads to empathy which lead us to social interaction…
Back in what seems like a previous life, I worked in a research based innovation company aiming to bring rapid action to our projects and work approach. The idea being that some projects greatly benefit from simply doing. Using our hands, getting out of that head space, away from the over-planning, scheduling and analyzing. That sometimes when we just try something, give ourselves a short time frame to complete a task (even if the end result may not be a fully finished product and may not even be a tangible output) we can make greater strides forward. Discover things that may have otherwise been overlooked. Actually innovate rather than simply finding bandaid solutions and maybe even enjoy ourselves along the way.
This was our mission within our company – we called ourselves the rapid action agents – and we were really good at pestering everyone in the company with “silly” challenges and exercises.
Well just as I was getting really good at suppressing my type-a personality a bit and going with the flow. To do and learn from the process…I had a baby. And in some ways your world slooooowwwssss way down when you becomes parent. But although I felt completely overwhelmed most days for a long time (who am I kidding. I still do most days…) I found the rapid action approach became a tool even in parenthood.
Think about it this way. You are sitting in your living room. Holding your precious, sweet little daughter and out of nowhere you hear some rumbling and feel gooey sticky warm “stuff” dripping down your arm. Yup. You better start doing something (although sometimes you really can’t do anything but laugh). You can’t stand there and analyze the situation or figure out which type of material will work best to wipe up this mess. You better grab whatever is in your reach (even if this is your hubby’s favorite band shirt) and start doing SOMETHING.
There are many situations like this. And since none of us know what we are doing when it comes to parenthood, we have to learn by doing, step out of our comfort zone (A LOT), think quickly, experiment with what works and of course – learn from the process.
One of the most recent “little things” about parenthood that made me think about my approach to work and rapid action (hey, motherhood is really hard work, so I don’t know why I am surprised that there is overlap. Duh…) was a few weeks ago when I was trying to occupy my now 1 year old daughter for another 30 minutes before her nap time (glorious, glorious nap time).
We were sitting on the floor in her room playing with her building blocks. I try to tell her the colors and the shapes but somehow she always picks up the little orange star. She loves that orange star.
Anyway. The type A in me wants to build a tower. And I want to build the tower that stands up without tipping over, using all 6 different shapes.
So in true nature I start thinking about which shape should go on the bottom – clearly the square right..? It has the most surface area so that would make sense. Yes. Perfect. Ok, what next. Let’s try the circle. Oh yeah that’s working….wham. Here comes my daughter slamming the whole thing over with her little fist clutching the orange star…ok I think. Let’s try this again maybe that green cross will work well, that way it reaches out to four corners and can support whatever shape will go on top great. Now the square and the circle. And. Wham. The tower topples over even before she can get to it.
This goes on for a while. Until I realize I’m insane for sitting on my daughters floor and worrying about building a tower with the correct order of shapes and maximum strength.
A. Just play with your daughter.
B. Get out of your head.
C. You’ve got to teach your daughter to respect your anal obsessive irrational ways…
Well maybe not that last one. But here I was. Stuck in my head over building blocks (yes, building blocks) instead of playing and watching my daughter use these blocks the way she wants. And trying something simply because it popped in her head. Because baby’s don’t know any better than to just try. No analyzing. No over-thinking. No self-doubt. Just doing.
And just like that, she sits up with the biggest grin and hands me the orange star. Of course. The orange star. The damn orange star. It has 5 corners…
When my “logical” brain was over-analyzing which shape would offer the most support as the base, my 1 year old reminds me that sometimes we just need to go for it. Just go with our gut. Try something for the sake of trying it. Act. Play.
Before I became a mom, I heard other parents talk about how time-consuming a baby is…how it changes you, your attitude, dreams, aspiration – all that. They talk about how your life changes completely…and here is the thing – I believed them 100%. But at the same time I had no idea. I always thought I will still have the same aspirations and be the same person – and I do and I am and I don’t and I am not.
Its a difficult thing to describe maybe because I can’t even wrap my head around it myself and I am living it…maybe that’s why everyone always talks about the experience of parenthood as “indescribable”…
With all that said…there are many reasons this blog has been quiet for a while now. And becoming a mom is probably the main one.
I am still just as interested in all things creative but in a different way. Time is more precious now. My goals have not changed, but I am adjusting where to put the focus. And I choose to unplug more often.
I would love to continue sharing the things that inspire me and I am sure with time I will find the right outlet and the right channel.
In the meantime:
Here is the thing – being married to a photographer can be a bit irritating at times – constant stops for ‘that shot’ or to make you pose in the ‘stunning light’ while walking around town…but of course it also has its perks. So when we found out we were expecting our first child we stuck our heads together to come up with a way to record the journey…here is what we came up with (reminiscent of our save the date photo):
All photos by Jim Blackstock (http://jimblackstock.com/)
This is ridiculous. So this stamp series was inspired First Lady Michelle Obama to promote her anti-childhood obesity “Let’s Move” campaign. Yet once in production, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition deemed three of the activities unsafe: The skateboarder not wearing kneepads, the diver doing a cannonball, and the boy doing the headstand not wearing a helmet. Read more about this story HERE!
Found this lovely quote in which Psychologists explore the creative benefits of mind-wandering over on Explore HERE!
“We mind wander, by choice or accident, because it produces tangible reward when measured against goals and aspirations that are personally meaningful. Having to reread a line of text three times because our attention has drifted away matters very little if that attention shift has allowed us to access a key insight, a precious memory or make sense of a troubling event. Pausing to reflect in the middle of telling a story is inconsequential if that pause allows us to retrieve a distant memory that makes the story more evocative and compelling. Losing a couple of minutes because we drove past our off ramp, is a minor inconvenience if the attention lapse allowed us finally to understand why the boss was so upset by something we said in last week’s meeting. Arriving home from the store without the eggs that necessitated the trip is a mere annoyance when weighed against coming to a decision to ask for a raise, leave a job, or go back to school.”
Interesting idea- phoneblocs is a modular phone concept developed by Dave Hakkens. Read more about it HERE!
Mica Angela Hendricks is an illustrator and graphic artist. In her latest collaboration, she doodles a head and then lets her 4-year-old take over and complete the illustration with her vision. So unique and what beautiful memories…Found via @swissmiss HERE, you can read more about Mica on her site HERE!