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Doff Your Derby

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 reflective position as we considered the creative support provided by our ever-present chairs. Were you a “seatback straight, tray table up” kind of sitter or did you seek out a seat that lets you sprawl? Maybe you mentally redesigned a new chair with nothing more than the features you need. Did a minute reflecting upon what surrounds you in your typical day help you notice something there that wasn’t there before? Like me, did you discover that once you started thinking about chairs, you say them everywhere!? 

Whether you found a few minutes rest in an overstuffed chair or perched at the edge of your seat filled with creative energy, I hope the experience grounded you and provided a fresh perspective. This week, we're shifting our gaze upwards, from the seat beneath our butts to what sits upon our head. Let’s take a moment to consider ways that our hats can help us harness our thinking energies for several minutes of creative contemplation.

Hats have been a part of human culture for millennia, serving purposes from the practical to the ceremonial. They shield us from the elements, signify our roles in society, and even make bold fashion statements. Hats provide a measure of our status in society and are nonverbal ways we tell people that we matter. Where, when, who, and why we wear hats is greatly influenced by local culture and customs. In essence, they tell others what team we play for, and maybe a thing or two about our values. 

In this space, we play but there are no teams, and the rules and dimensions of our playgrounds vary widely. Regardless of how we wear it, we can all enjoy a much needed multi sensory creative nudge via one or more of the following captastic activities.  Go somewhere the sun shines and then let your self shine.

  1. Hat History: What’s the story behind your headgear? Is it the ballcap your dad used to wear? Maybe that sun hat from a special beach outing or the beanie that's seen better days. Maybe it was an impulse internet purchase! Spend a few moments writing about a special hat.
  2. Design Your Dream Hat18th and 19th century cultural practices were the pinnacle of wish fulfillment. If you could design a hat that represents who you are, what would it look like? Would it be adorned with feathers, embroidered with symbols, or perhaps equipped with some quirky gadgetry? 
  3. Hat's Off to Perspective: Try on various hats. How does each make you feel? Empowered? Mysterious? Playful? Spend a few minutes writing or drawing about the change in perspective a hat provides.
  4. Thinking Cap: We put on thinking caps, we take them off again to show respect. Busy people say things like, “I wear multiple hats”. In what other ways can you find our language and thinking shaped by the hats we don and doff?

Hats, in their varied shapes and sizes, remind us that sometimes, all we need to shift our perspective or spark our creativity is to change our headgear. They're not just accessories; they're gateways to different personas, eras, and adventures. As you explore these activities, let the hat be a reminder that creativity is often just a hat-tip away. Whether you're donning a fedora, a beret, or tiara, remember that beneath it lies the most creative accessory of all - your mind.

So, the next time you reach for a hat before heading out the door, take a moment to appreciate its story and the world of possibilities it represents. Who knows? The right hat might just be the trick to unlocking your next creative idea.

Note: This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.