Monday, March 25, 2013

Cultivating the Art of Moodling

"Dahlia" blown glass bowl by Lindsay Marotta 2013
Women create.  We can't help it. Given the right conditions we naturally bring a creative spirit to our families, our workplaces, our friendships, our homes.  If we could harness that power--our possiblities are limitless. So what nurtures or blocks our creativity?
Back in the 1930s Brenda Ueland labeled the internal creative process as "moodling." Moodling is what happens when we take the time (when we are awake) to let our thoughts flow uncensored and unrushed.  Ueland was a freelance writer who credited her creativity to long walks, sometimes 7 or 8 miles a day.  (BTW she lived to age 93) 

Do you moodle? To the casual observer it looks a lot like day dreaming, puttering, and relaxing.  But insiders know it is a purposeful and important preliminary step to nurturing creativity.  Pump the well to tune into your truth.
Surround yourself with positive people and positive things will happen.  Find a like minded group of people who understand your creative side. Tension and disapproval are more than just buzz killers, they suck the creative juices out of everything. If you are living or working in an environment that stresses productivity to the exclusion of all else, you will struggle with tapping into your creative spirit. Creativity takes time.
Poor support can also be found closer to home.  The critic in your head may not support your "idle time" and creative pursuits.  Dispute these self-defeating thoughts by putting less emphasis on achievement. You are a human being, not a human doing.  In the scope of the universe it isn't about success, it is about living an authentic life.  How can you be genuine if you don't spend time with your own thoughts?
I am not sure who coined the phrase "butt in chair" to refer to the time we need to set aside in order to express our creativity.  We won't be satisfied if our creativity dwells only in our heads.  It is meant to be shared and relational. 
In her bestseller The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron encourages us to write daily pages in a journal.  I tried, resisted, and tried again to follow her example over a thirty day period many years ago.  Although I did not complete her program, it planted the seed of self discipline that ultimately resulted in regular writing.  I am a happier person when I write. 
Creativity is a mind set that can take many forms.  It is not limited to the traditional arts.  Flylady introduced the idea of creativity into my ho hum household chores.  She called it a "house blessing" which has made all the difference to me.  I have friends who express their creativity through cooking, exercise, math, fashion, gardening, childcare, etc.  It all counts! 
Clarissa Estes wrote the book Women Who Run with Wolves drawing on her biology background and female perspective to celebrate the power of "wild women." By her definition, "wild" is not a wacky thing, it is more of an integrity of spirit which frees us to become unstuck and express our unique point of view.

“...the best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it. And what is the purpose of existence Here or Yonder but to discover truth and beauty and express it, i.e., share it with others?”
                                                                                                                                    Brenda Ueland

I hope this post has encouraged you to tap into your creativity.  Go ahead- Moodle.  Be Wild.
Please comment- how do you express your creativity?



  1. I love the notion of "moodling." Lately I've been chastising myself for not being as productive as I'd like to be, but after a fairly intense writing retreat maybe my brain just needed some time for all the new ideas to slot into place? Or maybe I just needed recovery time. Today I feel ready to work. Just as soon as I get this office tidied up. Hmmm.

    1. You mean as soon as you bless your office?! Hope your moodling brings you joy (and terrific ideas)

  2. I am a moodler and proud of it - I would have claimed it sooner if I'd known there was such a cool name for my mental regrouping! I'm also loving the idea of reframing 'house cleaning' to 'house blessing'- but I'm still OK w/someone else 'blessing' my house!

    1. Amen to that! It is a blessing to have someone else bless my house but with my group we need additional blessing on the off weeks :)

  3. I have been in a funk lately--feeling overwhelmed with not enough time to do everything. I've made lists and schedules and goals to organize my thoughts and time. Yesterday, I finally gave up. I sat down with a the middle of the DAY! Ten minutes later, I was a calmer, better person when I closed that book. Now I know my distress wasn't from needing more time. I needed more MOODLING TIME. Thanks, Lisa!

    1. You are welcome! It is hard to find moodle time with little ones but it pays off. Great to hear from you (and glad you are less stressed)!

  4. A few years ago I heard the phrase "created to create" and I really liked it. If we are made in the image of our Creator, of course we'll have the urge to create something beautiful whether it be a song, a painting,a story, or a math theorem. You express this beautifully in your post, Lisa!

    1. Admittedly, it would be a stretch for me to express myself creatively through a math theorem but I admire those who can and do! Glad you liked the post.