03 Mar Creativity classes – and relaxation!
I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about creativity classes of late. I’ve been thinking about how I can have a group of people together, and help them to relax and create. After much pondering, I realized that in order to provide a relaxing environment, there had to be a surprising amount of structure – which seems somewhat counter-intuitive for creativity classes!
It was comparatively easy to come up with activities to do, but the logistics and hows have required greater thought. I looked online to see if there were any similar classes being offered, and not surprisingly, given my country of origin, only found parallel classes being offered in London… As I delved into their group expectations two points became very clear. The first was that if people didn’t show up having booked and paid, a strict “no cancellation, no refund” rule was implemented, and secondly that if people arrived more than 15 minutes after the start of the class, they wouldn’t be admitted. My first reaction was that these rules were a bit harsh, but slowly it dawned on me why.
If I have bought the supplies and prepared materials for the class, it will cost me both time and money to do so. If someone decides at the last minute not to attend, the prep for their place has already been completed – and it is very difficult to re-fill a place at the last moment as people are so busy. I saw then why the cancellation rule applied. As I looked at their class schedule I understood the second rule. They began with 15 minutes of yoga to allow everyone to relax and focus on the creative tasks to come. Anyone arriving late would disrupt that calm and collective focus and undo the good that had already been done. I began to see why their rules seemed so strict, and yet were in place to make the experience more valuable – and relaxing – for those who did arrive in good time.
So what would I teach in these creativity classes? My first concern was that people might be afraid I would ask them to draw, so any activity that requires drawing will use a ruler, round shapes, wavy lines, tiny dots or circles – or I’ll provide a printed outline to use. As I thought more about what activities the people attending the classes might like, I suspected that coloring and cutting out might be very calming and familiar activities. To this end those who attend can expect to create shapes – in different ways and to different ends – that decorate them in thoughtful, often symmetrical ways. In order for the activities to be relaxing and help with focus, anything that causes stress or anxiety has to be removed.
I also want people to have a chance to relax and unwind from their everyday life before starting. After much thought I think we will do a guided relaxation exercise to help loosen up any stress and calm us down. These will be done in a sitting position to make them accessible to anyone who attends. Here is an example of the kind of meditation I plan to use, from the Mayo Clinic website.