Last week I had no idea what to blog about until I went to the gym. After ten minutes on the stair climber, I had my idea. Fifteen minutes later on the elliptical trainer I had Three Lessons from a Productive Summer outlined in a note-taking app on my cell phone. Actually, I had ten lessons outlined. Seven got cut after realizing I had plenty to write about three. One of the lessons that got cut was going to be: when you have no idea what to write about, go to the gym. In the end, I decided this lesson deserved its own post.
Not long after my inspiring workout, I happened upon a Facebook post by my friend Heidi, the Vicar of Bolingbrook. Her post said simply, “It is solved by walking (Solvitur ambulando).” Intrigued, I followed the thread of comments and discovered that the quote is credited to Diogenes, a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynicism. Apparently, in response to the question of whether motion is real, Diogenes got up, walked and said, “It is solved by walking.” Later in the thread, a friend of Heidi’s posted this excellent article by Arianna Huffington in the Huffington Post about the virtues of a good long walk–one of those virtues being creative inspiration. Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Ernest Hemingway is noted for “thinking something out” while walking along the quays. And Henry David Thoreau described walking as the “enterprise and adventure of the day.”
To this celebration of walking, I would add stair climbing, elliptical training, or jogging. Any kind of rhythmic, physical movement focuses my mind and taps into the most creative parts of my brain. Ideas just come when I exercise.
Unfortunately, I always seem to forget this important lesson of creativity until it happens to me again. So this blog post will serve as a my reminder. The next time I get creatively stuck, I’m going to lace up my favorite, hot pink, Merrell Pace Gloves and hit the gym or the pavement. Because odds are, I’ll find the inspiration I need while in motion.
[Feature Image: Lower Columbia College]