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The Fresh Maker

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 turned our simple entry ways and exits into doors of perception, inviting our creative impulses into the room for several minutes of play and imaginative exploration. Did you recall a previous big “threshold moment” and compare it to where you find yourself today? Maybe you put up some colorful streamers or a positive message on a post it note to brighten the start of your day. Even if all you did is lean against a sturdy door frame holding your favorite beverage, I hope a few minutes of creative contemplation found it’s way into your day. 

This week, we move from the place where we start or end a journey to an object we often pack along for short trips: the breath mint. These tiny pocket sized burst of freshness are an easy and refreshing way to engage our sense of taste and smell this week. 

One great thing about mints is their easy shareability. Odds are you have a few floating around in your purse, or like me, you find a few wash and dried in your jeans after laundry day. Find yourself a mint, remove any lint, and enjoy a hint of creative exploration with one or more of these activities: 

  1. Savor the Moment: Slowly dissolve an entire mint on your tongue. Taste and smell are powerful memory boosters. Generate a flash journal or poem using the details you recall. 
  2. Extra Sensory: Pair a breath mint with a deliberate walk or a moment in a cherished environment. My dog knows it’s really walk-time when I reach into the drawer where I keep my mints! Observe how the intensified sense of taste and smell alters your perception of the space around you. Capture these sensory synergies visually through sketches, photography, or even a brief video. 
  3. Mint-Fusion Cooking: Mint can be tricky with cooking or baking. Try making a meal or dessert using mint, finding the right balance and bravely trying whatever comes out of your kitchen can challenge you to invent a new culinary creation. 
  4. The [Mint] Message: Choose someone to surprise with a mint accompanied by a personal note—a haiku, an expression of gratitude, or a simple doodle—transforming a small gesture into a memorable moment of connection. 

As we navigate through the week with a minty companion at our side, let's remember the simple joys that these small moments of creativity bring into our lives. Each activity offers a unique way to engage with the world around us. These tiny bursts of freshness will invigorate our senses and perhaps open our minds to the endless possibilities for creativity that exist in the ordinary and the everyday. 

Let these tiny prompts remind us that creativity doesn't require grand gestures or elaborate setups; sometimes, all it takes is a small, mint-infused nudge to lead us down new paths of exploration and expression. Here's to a week filled with fresh insights, delightful discoveries, and, most importantly, the refreshing taste of creative exploration that breath mints—and life itself—have to offer.

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