It seems to me that since the shelter in place mandate began, my days have been remarkably full. I have work things that need to be done – productions slated for next season to start working on, score review work to complete, collaborative virtual projects in which to take part. And my non-work hours have been filled with my personal social media projects, blogging, running outdoors (a lot), taking socially distanced walks with friends, holding a ladies’ happy hour.
I’m good at creating busy-ness because my mind is happier when occupied with new projects and pondering interesting concepts and gazing at beautiful things. In the past I’ve thought that this striving for mental activity was a weakness, a flaw, something that kept me from taking a breath and becoming comfortable in stillness. And while I’ve learned that moments of stillness are essential for me (as they are for all of us) I’ve realized that for me, having a fully engaged and active mind is how I feel most present and in the flow.
So I’ve been very mindful about finding things that keep me engrossed that are a bit less passive than Netflix binges or being caught in the endless news vortex. A few things I’ve found really interesting:
A creative personality test – I know, online quizzes are generally useless, but this one was really attractive from a design standpoint, and because I’m really considering how to best be creative during the next however-many-weeks (months?) I wanted a little help with gaining insight into my process . My creative type was “visionary”, by the way, and some of the conclusions rather accurately described my tendencies to be lax in daily follow-through.
If you feel like falling down a YouTube rabbit hole that might actually be useful if civilization as we know it ceases to exist, check out Primitive Technology. I’m not quite sure why this fascinates me so much, but I’m comforted by the thought that we can find ways to create extraordinary things with no model tools, or materials, or technology. Simpler times.
Coursera, my friends. Sign up (it’s free!) and browse away. So many free courses on every topic imaginable. I’m taking MoMA’s “Modern Art and Ideas” course and “Music as Biology”.
I’m kind of a National Parks junky (I do really love the outdoors), and since we can’t really visit any right now, Hidden Wonders of National Parks scratches that itch. Like a good National Geographic show but more interactive.
And finally, myNoise, which provides background sound/music options organized by use, everything from “I suffer from tinnitus” to “I want to explore hacking the brain” to “I’m desperately trying to put my baby to sleep”. So many options and controls to play with, and it has made me more aware of the effect of specific sounds on my own mind.
So my question for you: what activities have discovered that are not mere distraction, but which are both engaging and transportive?
My task: my upstairs neighbors have been unable to leave their apartment for weeks to do anything besides get the mail. They miss the outdoors. So I’ve started to take videos when I’m out walking or running through the beautiful green spaces of San Francisco, and I’m sending them my first batch via email today (done!)