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Swept 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.

In our last creative exploration, we unfolded the world of umbrellas, discovering the shelter and inspiration they provide in both literal and metaphorical storms. Did you capture the essence of umbrellas through your lens or perhaps design an umbrella that shields more than just rain and sun? Maybe you found your groove while listening to songs inspired by the sights and sounds of umbrellas? Even if you just secretly opened and closed an umbrella several times indoors to tempt fate, I hope a few minutes of creative play brought a smile to your face.

As we continue to find creativity in our everyday lives, this week's creative nudge reaches for a tool that's both practical and metaphorically rich: the broom. Often associated with cleaning and tidying, brooms also sweep through our cultural narratives and rituals, symbolizing clearing away the old to make way for the new. 

If you’re like me, I need to "sweep away" distractions from the workspace to focus. I also use cleaning as the perfect diversion to avoid work too! No doubt, the broom is a perfect thing to explore the balance between order and chaos in our creative processes.

Stay the execution of those dust bunnies and spend several minutes in creative play starting with one of these exercises:

  1. Air Guitar: Channel your inner rock star. This playful activity is about freeing your mind and body, allowing creativity to flow in a moment of uninhibited joy.
  2. DIY Sweeper: Craft a broom using found materials like branches, twigs, or recycled items. This hands-on activity challenges you to create something functional and aesthetically pleasing from simple materials.
  3. Brooms at Work: Capture images of brooms being used in busy marketplaces, quiet homes, or even in ceremonial practices. This exercise is about observing and appreciating patterns and rituals in our lives.
  4. Sweeping Cosplay: Create a personal ritual using the broom to symbolically sweep away negative energy, worries, or creative blocks. This can be a meditative practice, helping you to clear your mind and workspace, setting the stage for new ideas and projects.

As we engage with these creative activities, let's appreciate the broom's ability to sweep away the old and make space for the new, both in our physical spaces and in our minds. It reminds us that creativity often requires a clear space – not just physically but mentally and emotionally. 

In the rhythmic motion of sweeping, find a dance of preparation and anticipation for the creativity that awaits. As you take up your broom this week, may it become a way to open up spaces of possibility, for stirring up dormant ideas, and for bringing a sense of order and readiness to your creative endeavors.

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