I'm Bored - Good!
How many times have we said this in our lives, or heard our students or children proclaim it?
Years ago a guy I just met told me he was bored.
I arrogantly responded, "Only boring people get bored."
Well, of course, that's an exaggeration, we all get bored, but it's what we do with that feeling that matters.
Psychologist and MIT Professor Sherry Turkle studies the importance of boredom and solitude as tools for healthy imagination and healthy in-person human connections. She is the NYT bestselling author of the book "Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age".
Through her research and understanding of the mind, Turkle advises us to:
"Walk towards boredom and
walk towards solitude."
- Sherry Turkle
This is advice that I wholeheartedly agree with and unknowingly have done most of my life. I can't be creative if I don't have abundant space (mental and schedule wise) and ample solitude.
Turkle isn't the only brilliant mind out there advising us to stop scrolling and be still by any means, but she does explain why in an incredibly inspiring and motivating way.
What can we do?
What I do if I feel "bored" or lonely is I sit with the feeling in stillness. I embody it, analyze how it manifests physically in my body, observe the impulse to grab my phone or busy my body. I don't act on them. I stay quiet and inward. I witness how not acting on my impulse disturbs my mind further.
But if I keep observing and keep denying the impulses to alleviate my boredom or loneliness they dissipate.
This leads me to question - perhaps most of the time when these feeling arise I'm not actually bored or lonely at all? Perhaps I am only reacting to habits?
If I can push through the unease and release through the dissipation, I reach the state where the magic happens. Where I am alone, but not at all lonely. Glorious solitude! Where I feel connected and inspired to something larger than my immediate self.
That is where I find contentment, where my new ideas and inspiration emerge, and where my freedom lies - creative and mental.
How can we do it?
I'm not saying it's always easy to achieve, especially at first or particularly on stressful or exhausted days. I'm not saying I never give into the boredom loneliness scrolling impulse either.
I will say though, that, like anything, the ability to sit with the boredom gets easier with practice over time. And that the rewards of a calm creative mind get greater as the strength to control the impulses arise.
I also find laying down (indoors or out) and staring out the window helps me reach this state. And giving myself the open ended time and space to just lay there and stare is an invaluable gift.
I do think we can embrace boredom and let it evolve into peaceful creative inspiration!
We can take our minds back from the hyper-fast digital age world!
How do you creatively manage feelings of boredom or loneliness?
Share in the comments below!
Share photos of your latest creation on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder!
Seeds to Sprout
Sometimes when we are learning a new skill a tool helps in the interim.
When you feel bored, try drawing a card from the Creative Connections deck to focus the mind.
Have children or students? When they proclaim boredom, have them draw a card from this deck and give them space to ponder, draw, or write!
April is Poetry Month!
In the states, April is National Poetry Month, check out all the wonder Wednesday poetry projects you could create here!