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Exercising Your Creativity at Brainfest 2014

29 Mar

Last week I participated in the smartest event- Brainfest 2014.  Through a grant from Winter Park Health Foundation’s own Diana Silvey, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Florida hosted a day-long event focusing on the brain.  Young and older than younger people gathered to hear about ways of protecting and preserving their brain power.  There were drumming circles (drumming helps synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain), Improvisational  exercises (thinking on your feet), and even brain Olympics.  Participants were presented with Brain Commandments:

Eat Smart- Health food keeps your brain running strong

Work Out- flexing those muscles strengthens the brain

Chill Out-Great brains love good company

Hang Out- Lower your stress level

Challenge Yourself- A happy brain is a hard working brain

Find Purpose- Living a meaningful life keeps your brain engaged

Needless to say, much was emphasized about the importance of physical exercise and good nutrition on brain health.  I weighed in with a session entitled, “Exercise Your Creativity”.  Research documents the role creativity can play in challenging our brains to better health. By their very nature, creativity and the arts encourage people to break away from habit and routines and explore new areas of experience.

Exercise Your Creativity

Exercise Your Creativity

As adults we have come to recognize the validity of exercising our bodies and minds, but somehow, once we get past the age of ten we generally start paying less attention to our creative muscles.  And, just like physical muscles that fail to be engaged, so can our creative muscles begin to atrophy.  So my job, as a self-appointed creativity evangelist, was to help people exercise those creative muscles.

The very word “creativity” can elicit fear and intimidation among adults, and my group was no exception.  There were the initial grumblings of “But I’m not creative at all!” (a statement that never fails to hurt me to hear).  But a kind of transformation occurs from the beginning of a creative exercise to the end of it.  My flock of fledgling artists suspended their internal critics for an hour or two as they sculpted their clay creations illustrating ways in which they could introduce more creativity into their daily lives.  A clay garden complete with watering can, musical instruments, an artist’s palette jewelry, and a little food art to boot, emerged from these creativity converts.

I felt so proud, even a little humbled, by their bravery.  The name of my blog and business is called Be Brave. Lose the Beige.  It does take a little bravery to create something out of nothing and hold it up for the scrutiny of others.  Fortunately for my flock, there was nothing but praise and encouragement all around.

As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”   So, go out and flex those creative muscles!  Art Palette

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One Word Resolutions

16 Jan

Jackie Sorensen, a partner in Be Brave. Lose the Beige, prescribed an exercise during a session with a group of Lady Boomers.  She recommended identifying a word that might encapsulate our yearnings and goals for the new year.  Jackie chose “courage” as a word she hoped to live with throughout 2014.  Courage to face age-old fears inhibiting her in previous years, and “forgiveness” of those who might have been hurtful in times past.  Liz chose a three word sequence – “pause, listen, and obey the still small voice within calling her toward her true self.  Another participant selected the word “savor” to remind her to be mindful of the present moment.

This may be an exercise you want to conduct for yourself.   Settle yourself in a quiet contemplative place and brainstorm several words that might be meaningful to you.  Sift through them, live with them for a couple of days until you come upon one that might fit with your hopes and aspirations for the coming year.   Let’s be honest, how many January 1sts have we diligently written out resolutions only to have them forgotten or overlooked in the ensuing months.  New York times journalist, John Tierney, writes the following about New Year’s resolutions:

“On one hand, you are 10 times more likely to change by making a New Year’s resolution compared to non-resolvers with identical goals.

He goes on to suggest, however…

“Most people are not going to keep their resolutions all year long.  They start out with the best of intentions, expecting they will find the willpower to succeed.  By the end of January a third will have broken their resolutions; by July more than half will have lapsed.”

A site called Oneword365 (www.oneword365.com) urges people to scrap the long list of goals and choose just one word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.  One word you could actually remember and focus on every day all year long.

Baby Boomer women, Lady Boomers as we like to call ourselves, tend to put themselves on hold while they tend to the needs of family and friends.  Be Brave. Lose the Beige encourages Lady Boomers to discover, or in many instances, re-discover, their own colorful spirits.  Losing the beige is not just about color (although we are crazy about colors..all colors, the more the better) Be Brave, Lose the Beige is really a life choice, a way of thinking about and viewing the world.  Bravery may be required as you assert the need for time to engage in pursuits of your own choosing.  Color and joy will begin seeping back into a life turned beige by all the obligations and responsibilities we face on a daily basis.

So, if you want to make a resolution, resolve to choose you this year.  Identify a word that sums up who you want to be and how you want to live.

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions