Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Running Creative

This year My One Word is CREATE.

Giving up my iPod for Lent has had an unexpected outcome - my time on the treadmill has become a boon of creativity. If I run without distractions, it seems the ideas begin to run as well. Like a flowing faucet.

Before I would usually run to music. I go faster and harder with the pounding beat in my ear. I'd work out harder, with less perceived effort, with my iPod. I knew I was going to miss that. I figured I'd just read while I jogged - but reading makes me have to go slower than I want. Or I figured I'd use one of these cool running videos from Virtual Active.

Then I hopped on the tread-deck the other day in complete silence. And nothing to read. I even darkened the room a bit. And let my thoughts go. They went to interesting places. They came up with useful solutions. And they dreamed new dreams.

Henry Ford once said he didn’t want executives who worked constantly. He insisted those who were always working at their desks were not being the most productive. He wanted people who would stop their work, prop their feet up and dream some fresh dreams. Henry believed that only he who has the luxury of time can originate a creative thought.

The luxury of time. That's what being on the treadmill gives me. I can't wash the dishes, or cook dinner, or write a devotion, or grade papers, or fold laundry, or declutter my office, or do my taxes while I'm jogging on the treadmill. So I don't. I just jog, and I find that I run into creative thoughts every quarter mile or so.

The same is true for me if I walk on the beach alone, or meander through a park - although there I can also become so engrossed in my environment that it dominates my thoughts. Which isn't a bad thing! But I'm interested to see if the treadmill can become for me a place of creative thought.

Can the sound of it starting up - like the ringing of the bell for Pavlov's dogs - trigger my creative juices?

The difficulty, I've found, is trying to jot the gist of my ideas down while on the treadmill so I'll remember them after my post-workout shower! 

What about you, where or when do you do your best creative thinking?

Do you afford yourself the "luxury of time?"


  1. Oh, Rachel, I can so relate to your post! When I go on my runs is when the words come pouring forth. Like you, I haven't yet found a way to scribble the words while running - LOL : ) But I do often pray that HE will bring them back to mind as soon as pen and paper is in hand because after all they are words straight from HIM.

    1. I will have to pray the same thing, Pam. Or invent an app that somehow takes my thoughts striaght from my brain, to the cloud, to my laptop when I clap three times. See how creative I'm becoming? If I keep running I just might become the next Steve Jobs!

  2. Love this post, Rachel! It's funny, but I've been thinking about my need to get away and just think.

    For me, it has to be an intentional 'getting away' for the purpose of just being.

    A walk on the beach (my fav!), sitting in the park overlooking the river, and like you, sometimes on my treadmill. But purposefully putting my mental 'to-do list' in nuetral long enough to just allow my mind to just 'be'.

    1. I hope you'll find some time and space to do that this week, Stephanie. And anytime you are in Wilmington, NC you have an invitation to come walk on the beach with me.

  3. Ah, Rachel, here you are again being one of the bearers of the Lord's message to me. I just last night set down one of my burdens so that I could have the space in my thoughts to return to this place of quiet and creativity. And he's sent me several confirmations this morning that I made the right choice. He even suggested, as I started by 15 minutes of prayer with Him, that I go visit your blog first.

    And now, maybe I will once again be able to afford the luxury of time. Maybe my mind will have the space to dwell in that luxury without dragging in all the clutter of "to dos" that are sitting right outside the door. I'm hoping and praying!

    Regarding recording your thoughts - I had that happen to me when I was out for a much needed stress relieving hike recently. My thoughts were a mass of clutter and struggles until I started hiking in the foothills behind my home. Ah, the space and clarity that poured out was amazing. And frustrating, since I was hiking and couldn't stop to write down my "ah hahs." But, I found a smart phone (which I had to bring with me in case work duties needed immediate response) has a voice recording app. It worked perfectly. All the "just right" thoughts were recorded for me to review later. So, you might want to get a digital recorder to tuck into your cup holder for those light bulb moments as you jog along.

    Okay...back to my Lenten prayer time.

    Thanks for the message, Rachel! :-)


    1. A voice recorder is a great idea! And I'm glad you've cleared some mental space by laying a burden down - sounds like you are on the right track. Run on that track and see what you find! :)

      I'm honored that the Lord would direct you here.

  4. I find it is when I have afternoon or evening tea. It is my quiet time to stop for a few minutes. It is wonderful and when I don'tdo it I miss it very much. Loved your post.

    1. Tammy, I imagine the daily tea ritual would be great for that. :)


Chime in.