Friday, July 23, 2021

Arrange to be lucky.

My dad took this photo of his fellow-high jumper in high school. As you can see, my dad (and his team mates) were not afraid of a challenge!

My father has spent a lifetime overcoming obstacles, and this past week was no different. He decided to pay the hospital yet another visit. Okay, he didn't make this decision, but rather his doctor made the decision for him. It was one of those last minute things where everyone, including the medical staff, the doctors, the nurses, and (ahem) his daughter, was all in a panic over his elevated heart rate.  

My dad, however, was calm, cool and collected.  

While we were in the Emergency Room, waiting, waiting, waiting, my dad told how he had discovered that the hospital uniforms carry a ranking system.

My dad observed that the more black the individual wears, the higher their rank. Most of the nurses wore green and blue, but the higher their rank (or so my father said), the more black their ensemble became. And the doctor, who flitted into the room a few times, wore all black. He had the power to have my dad discharged, and that was exciting, so we were always looking for the man in black.

The point is, while my Dad could have been completely bored and annoyed or worried and anxious, he kept himself happily occupied by deconstructing the hospital uniform color and corresponding code system.

My Dad is 97, and whenever I ask him about the secret to his longevity he'll either say, "don't die" or "arrange to be lucky." He often tells me that I shouldn't worry and that worrying is too much work and takes up too much valuable energy.  

He doesn't worry!

I would like to add to this that the secret of his long life lies in his creative outlook and the way in which he notices everything, even during the indignity of lying in the Emergency Room (again). Observing details, making up stories and rising above the panic is not only the secret of his longevity, but I do believe it's the secret to a truly creative life.

And this brings me to your creativity prompt. Take the most annoying thing that happens to you this week and observe the details. Ask yourself about systems. Is there a rank? Are their specific steps and movements? Is there a kind of dance to this event? What about colors? What is the primary color of the moment? The secondary? What color is absent? And listen to language. What words are specific to this particular world.

This is a great exercise for creative world-building. Whether you know it or not, when you paint, dance, create a podcast, write, or make music, you are building a world and as such, you need to get a handle on the nuances of the language, the people, place and the secret codes. 

Observe everything. And who knows, maybe you'll live to be a strong, good-humored, completely engaged and curious 97-year old!

Enjoy your week, my creative friends, and do try to stay out of the hospital!



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