Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder put together a program to help business artists plan for 2015 in an unusual way. Quest 2015 consists of a community of people and prompts that are sent out for people to respond to 12 times during the month of December. Part of the community building is through sharing blog posts, so I will be posting more frequently between now and the end of my reflections. After the 12 reflection posts, I’ll be back to my regular, irregular posting schedule.
The second prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Jason Silva.
In what ways might you artfully curate your life in 2015 to occasion serendipity, creativity and awe?
Ontological designing says: We design our world and the world designs us back.
What are the linguistic and creative choices you can make in 2015 that will in turn act back upon you and transform you?
When I read this prompt, I immediately thought of the practice I started this fall of walking by the shores of Lake Ontario almost every day. I wrote myself a prescription: 10 deep breaths on the lake shore 3-5 times a week. Even when I cannot make time for more than those 10 deep breaths, that time centres me and opens me up to the wonder in the world. On the days when I walk the shore for longer, stopping when something catches my eye, being there transforms me.
I find my best self by the lake shore.
Many moments of awe surprise me when I walk in nature: a bird call, a butterfly that catches my eye, the sun breaking through grey clouds. Each comes as a surprise, captures my attention, and then passes into the next moment.
Walking in nature feeds my soul, feels meaningful, and refocuses me on wonder.
Part of the power of walking in nature is the walk, part is the awe nature inspires in me. In his video How We Create Serendipity, Jason Silva talks about those chance occurrences that improve our lives and posits that they happen more often in contexts where extremes are juxtaposed, where things that do not fit with each other enter the same space and shake things up. And, it struck me that my walks by the lake shore are moments of juxtaposition.
To get from my house to the lake, I drive through manicured suburban streets that could be anywhere, past houses that could be in England or in Canada. When I get to the shore, there is nowhere else that I could be. No other strip of land looks like this. No other day has ever made the waves just like this with the light just so. My excursion to the shore is palpably unique. And when I return to what could be suburban monotony, for a period after my visit to the lake, I remain awake to the moment that is.
To curate my life to invite creativity, serendipity, and awe is as simple as getting to the lake as often as possible.
But, I could do more. I take at least one picture every time that I go to the lake, to capture over time the variety I encounter. I have empty picture frames, frames I bought that were the wrong size for a project. Hanging a few of my pictures of the lake in my house will serve as a reminder of the transformative power of the lake, both reminding me to get out of the house and go to the shore, and inspiring me on the days when I do not go. And so, I have a creative project that I hope will work on me in the mysterious ways of nature, serendipity and awe.
According to his bio, Jason Silva is an epiphany addict, media artist, futurist, philosopher, keynote speaker, and TV personality. He is the creator of Shots of Awe (13 million views) and the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic’s Brain Games.