Mindful Mimi's blog has moved!

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If I move, will you follow?

>> 23 March 2011

I just wanted to remind you that this blog has moved.

So please join me over HERE
and subscribe to the new RSS feed
or follow me via Networkedblogs.

Create and Connect. Inspire social change through creativity


The end of an era

>> 11 March 2011

Dear creative readers,

Time has come to take you on a journey.
The 'simply blogging for fun' era has come to an end.

I am now taking things seriously :-)
I have moved to a new blog and new website which I let you discover.

This blog will no longer be fueled with creative posts. Therefore, please surf on over to the new blog to make sure you don't miss a thing.

Both Blogger and Mindfulmimi.com will continue to direct to the new blog.

Meet you there for some serious creative business!


Creativity: bring play into every day

>> 9 March 2011

When I spend an afternoon with my children (3 and almost 5) I am always and again amazed at their ability to play.

EVERYTHING is play. Everything they do is for entertainment and learning only.

Some examples of just one afternoon:

  • My 3 year old:
    • spent 15 minutes throwing a balloon into the air shouting 'wheeeee' and catching it (marveling at how it never falls back down the same way or place)
    • then he got a plastic container in which he put the balloon and ran around the house with it going 'yaaaah' (marveling at how the balloon tried to escape)
    • spent 5 minutes drawing with different color pens on his face
    • spent half an hour digging in the gravel outside, filling and emptying buckets
    • spent 5 minutes picking out fluff from between his toes
  • My 5 year old:
    • spent 1 hour drawing on a roll of wallpaper trying out the letters he recently learned and asking what he had written (which was something interesting like LOKRLICCOPAAAMMM)
    • spent 15 minutes listening to the same song and accompanying it with all sorts of kid's musical instruments we have (flute, xylophone, drum, tambourine...)
    • spent half an hour cutting paper and gluing the pieces together with sticky tape
All that without any 'real' purpose.

How often does that happen to you?
How often do you do thing just for fun, just to play and be merry?

What can you do to bring some more play into your daily life?
How about a few of these?
  1. go to a toy store and buy a toy you'd love to play with - take it to the office
  2. do kart-wheels
  3. With your family (or colleagues), spend half an hour without speaking: instead, DRAW everything you want to say
  4. put stickers in your agenda (I do for each time I went running)
  5. order a kid's menu instead of your regular choice
  6. keep at bucket of crayons on your desk
  7. instead of the canteen, take your colleagues on a picnic lunch in the park/woods
  8. pretend to be a superhero for a day (try to think and act like one)
  9. jump up and down (you can do this in the bathroom if you are shy :-)
  10. hang a flip chart page on your wall and every time someone comes to your office, ask them to draw something on it (with the box of crayons you have on your desk)
  11. put your to do list as post it notes on your wall
  12. play with your food at lunch or eat with your fingers
  13. keep some Lego blocks on you desk - or if that is too childish, try Kapla.
  14. Try solving a Rubik's cube
  15. Have a dress up or theme day at work
  16. Have your meeting at the local museum instead of your meeting room
  17. Sit on the ground for meeting


How to protect your creative bubble

>> 6 March 2011

Creativity is killed by:
  • office politics
  • a boss who controls
  • fear
  • the hanging on to 'things have always been done this way'
  • procedures and process
  • etc
So in order to protect your creativity from these viruses, you need to create a protective bubble.

The bubble is an environment filled with things like:
  • self knowledge
  • curiosity
  • faith, safety and trust
  • allowance to make mistakes
  • playfulness
  • friends, like minded people and sounding boards
  • etc
Do you have a bubble?
If not, how can you blow one up slowly?


Your normal is someone else's exotic

>> 2 March 2011

I was listening to an audio book where an American student was describing his Guatemalan roommate as exotic.

Sun on your skin, beaches, mosquitoes, colorful clothing, palm trees and lush green and blue scenery, sing song language.

Exotic, yes. But normal, every day life when you're Guatemalan.

It's the same with creativity.

The things you do in your normal way may look exotic to someone else.

And have you really looked at the normal, routine life you're leading? Is it really that mundane?

There are so many normal ways of being creative that we tend to forget about them.

  • How you cook dinner is creative.
  • How you dress every day is creative.
  • How you solve problems is creative (yes even the problem of how to clean your baby's poo off the couch!)
  • How you write your blog posts is creative.
  • How you bring laughter on someone's face is creative.
  • How you fold laundry is creative (I have never seen two people fold laundry the same way...)
  • How you manage stress is creative.
  • How you entertain guests is creative.
  • How you manage to fit all the garbage in the can every week is creative.
So you don't have to paint a masterpiece, speak a foreign language, or live on an exotic island to be creative.

Creativity can be found in the ordinary. You just need to see it.

So what's your ordinary this week? Can you see how this may seem creative to someone else?


Why you need to notice the little things to be creative

>> 27 February 2011

Some people are lucky:

  • They find the penny (or even a bill) on the street.
  • They bump into the right people at the right moment.
  • Good things just happen to them all the time.
  • They are seated next to Carl Lewis on the plane (yes yes, I know someone).
  • They get to do the coolest things they love to do.
  • They keep coming up with the best ideas.
Why is that you think? Luck?
And then why don't these things happen to me?

Well, let me ask you a question: Do you notice every 'little thing'?

No, of course not. How can you? You only have one brain. You have a job, kids, stuff to handle, groceries to buy, appointments to get to, emails to respond to while walking down the street to catch the bus.
No time to notice EVERY little thing.

No, of course not. But do you notice ANY little thing?

Is your mind open to luck, to simple things, to stuff that has nothing to do with what your mind is on about right now?

I have just spent two days in Rome and I have noticed the following little things:
  • Otto is eight in Italian and also the name of a guy. It can be written in a very creative, designy way.
  • There is art on pavements (not only in Rome)
  • Italian cab drivers have a nice little plaque with their name inside the cab.
  • There was no room service in my hotel (ok, maybe not such a small thing after all)
  • The contents of my minibar were included in my room charge (too bad they forgot to tell me this beforehand...)
  • They have huge, tall, heavy, wooden, decorated doors. I wonder who makes those.
  • Hardly anyone wears heals (too many cobble stoned streets).
  • Most Italian scooters are no longer of Italian brands.
  • etc etc etc
Now, I admit this is nothing that makes me rich or famous.
But all these little ideas will sit in my head and I just know they will meet some other information there that can be useful.
Or the little things are waiting (simmering, incubating) until I notice some other little thing so that they can mate and create a wonderful little idea.

What are the little things you are noticing this week?

And if you're completely out of practice, I suggest you go for a walk with a toddler of 3 or 4. They do notice EVERY little thing.


5 tips to start the day creatively

>> 23 February 2011

People tell me it's difficult to be creative every day.
Of course it is.

But if you set up a few systems to create a creative routine, you can easily be creative every day.

Being creative does not necessarily mean you have to paint a painting or write a song.

Here are a few ideas on how you can start (or end) your day with something creative:

  1. Buy the book "The Art of Looking Sideways" by Alan Fletcher.
    Put it on your desk at work and open it to a new page every day. You will not only learn some interesting things but also have a daily dose of inspiration.

  2. Brush your teeth with your other hand.
    This will confuse your brain, but it will also teach it to create new neural pathways. And that is good for creativity.

  3. Visit Keri Smith's website for 100 ideas for little, funny, crazy actions.
    Do one every day. I suggest you get her books too.

  4. Do something with your hands first.
    We are so used to working with our brains that we don't know how to work with our hands anymore. So start your day with something manual.
    * take some paper, cut it into pieces, glue it together with glue or tape
    * get some paper flowers and fashion them into a bouquet for your office
    * hand write the agenda of your day
  5. Take a picture a day:
    Bring a disposable camera to work and take a different picture of your office. Rearrange things, add new things. When the roll of film is full, develop the picture and make a mosaic to hang on your wall. Or participate in the art project A Million Little Pictures.


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