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Do Look Up

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week we took a lesson from succulent gardens and found ways to be creative while adapting to our environment. Finding ways to add creative minutes into our day requires us to adapt to a fast paced, distracted world. Did slowing down for a succulent story help you notice something beautiful like a spider web spun among cactus needles? Close up shots of plants and bugs look great on Instagram! Maybe you sketched the succulent garden of your dreams or propagated new succulents and gave them out as impromptu “thank you for being a friend” surprises to brighten someone’s day. Wherever you creative nudge took you, I’m glad you’re  back for more.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s hot all day so let’s adapt by sparking our creativity using a nighttime sky full of stars. In this week's creative nudge, we immerse ourselves in the illuminated sky after sunset and notice the passage of time. Those stars, shining and shimmering for millions of years, helped early humans track the passage of time. Then and now, the movements of those stars inspire creative storytelling. This is our time with this rich canvas. Now, do look up, and give yourself the gift of a few minutes of creative contemplation.

To fully embrace this session of light therapy, find a location with a clear view of the nighttime sky. Seek out a peaceful spot - rooftop terrace, a grassy field, the hood of your car, or the captivating desert expanse of the Mojave – then try one of the following:

  1. Stargazing Meditation: Lie down or sit comfortably under the night sky, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. As you open your eyes, allow your perception of time to expand to match the depths of the cosmos. Feel a sense of connection to the universe and your small, yet wonderful, place within it.
  2. Nighttime Photography: Experiment with different exposure settings, long exposure shots, and composition techniques to immortalize the beauty of the stars. Embrace the challenge – learn what a few of those knobs and buttons do on your device!
  3. Celestial Storytime: Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are? Also, where are you from and where are you going? Let the stars guide your storytelling, weaving tales of adventure, love, and mystery.
  4. Stargaze like Skynet, learn like an LLM: Identify stars, planets, and constellations.  Amaze neighbors with newfound understanding and the ability to discern star from planet from satellite junk.

Artists, writers, and philosophers have found refuge and inspiration in the darkness, and all it holds. Reflect on the rich traditions of creative arts that have flourished under its vast expanse throughout history. By looking up, you are now part of that history. Like them, you are a creative person, looking up into the sky to find something. Encourage yourself to seek new perspectives and possibilities.

Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.