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Just Passing Through

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 played around at the event horizon of our digital devices. How did it feel to stare into these ever present “faces” in our lives, unmarked by the usual barrage of digital content we ask it to give us? Did the silence of the screen prompt a deeper introspection, or a new thoughtful placement for that device? If you are like me, one realization is that these screens don’t just project but reflect us, literally and creatively. Turns out, I have a lot of screens around me in just about any place I go. I expect you’ll find this week’s thing for our creative expression to be just as easy to find!

Are you ready to transition from the digital cloud to a more tactile and physical realm? This week's creative nudge asks us to interact with a doorframe—the everyday boundary between where you are and where you will go next. I’d be remiss in “Earthquake Awareness Month” to not take a moment to observe these places of refuge we can run to when we sense the ground beneath us shake. Whether it frames the entrance to the kitchen or an exit outdoors, for a few minutes right now, let’s consider them an invitation to cross into new realms of creative contemplation.

Our primary sense for  this exploration is touch, a sense that connects us directly with the present. Imagine standing before a doorframe. Unlike the silent observer that was our blank screen, the doorframe invites us in. If a doorframe could talk, it might say “C’mon in!” and check out what lies ahead. If you’re like me and a fan of rituals, you might want to step deliberately through the doorframe. Or try this without using your eyes and just feel your way around that doorframe. What’s unique about the one you’re standing in or thinking about right now? Starting with that idea, transition over to one or more of these creative activities:

  1. Feel to Reveal: Spend several minutes touching, tracing, and feeling the doorframe. Note the sensations—warmth, coolness, roughness. Reflect on how these sensations are metaphors for transitions in your own life.
  2. One Small Step: Enter the doorway while reflecting on a significant life transition. Write about this threshold moment. How did stepping through that metaphorical doorframe change you?
  3. Stargate: Imagine the doorframe as a portal to your dream or a deeply personal space. Sketch or describe this imagined place, focusing on what makes it inviting and special to you.
  4. Adorned Door: Adorn the doorframe with items that reflect your mood or aspirations. This temporary adornment could involve hanging fabric, placing objects nearby, or attaching post it note messages to your future self.
  5. Framed Photograph: Take shots of what lies ahead through the door’s frame. Capturing elements of both spaces in one image can remind us of ways that things change from one moment to the next.

By engaging with these exercises, we not only deepen our appreciation for the ordinary but also rediscover the joy and wonder of imagination. We walk in and out of doors every day so making this a focus gives us a moment to reflect upon the thresholds we've crossed and those that lie ahead, inviting us to pause, contemplate, and find creative inspiration in the transitions that shape our lives.

As we move through this week, let the steady presence of doorframes remind us of life's continuous journey through openings and closings, beginnings and endings. May this exploration of touch and transition enrich your days with moments of creativity and reflection.

This column written with the help of a customized GPT from OpenAI. If I can make one, so can you!