Decanted WineOne of the things I love about wines is that they change. Each glass is like a flower opening.  It has one smell and taste when it’s poured, another as it warms, another as it mixes with the oxygen in the room and each tick of the clock changes it.  With certain reds you want to encourage that change a bit by decanting it (pouring it out of the bottle into another container).  At a party one night a guest noticed a bottle of wine sitting way off to the side of the room and asked what it was doing over there.  The host said, “It needs to breathe.”  On the one hand it’s an amazingly pretentious thing to say, on the other it’s so luscious.  Sometimes you need to give something space for it to come into its fullest potential.

Our creativity is like that as well. Many people seem to think they can cram creativity into an already jammed schedule, that it’s like a pocket knife that can be flipped open at any moment to do whatever is necessary, that it’s just there waiting for any spare second we can give to it. So then a spare moment comes and the last thing we want to do is create. Or we set aside a swath of our precious time in order to create something and when we get there the space inside us where we thought we had our creativity stored is empty with a couple of wispy cobwebs and some dust.

It doesn’t take a special type of person to be creative. Human beings are creative by our very nature. We’re inquisitive problem solvers who are constantly making things happen around us in each and every day. The thing is, creativity doesn’t happen on schedule, it doesn’t fit into time tables, and it most certainly doesn’t work on demand. Like wine, it needs space and time to breathe. That’s why some of the most creative ideas we have happen in the shower.  It’s one of the few spaces that we allow our brain to breathe. The physical actions we’re taking are repetitive habit. Other than checking to make sure we don’t slip or drop something, our brain isn’t really engaged.  It has space to wander, to do what it wants, to slip into free space. Hence it naturally starts to create. Another great creative space? Long walks or hikes. Repetitive motion that doesn’t require a huge amount of attention allows our minds time to breathe. It gives us the quiet space to just be and in those moments creativity rubs its hands gleefully and starts to play.

Just like wine, we need to be able to breathe. We need time beyond the triage of healing and resting after a huge week of doing, beyond the self-care necessary to remain healthy. We need space that isn’t numbing our brain, but giving it permission to roam. Only then can we follow where it leads into the magic which shows us what is possible.