We have all tried it, maybe not so much as adults, but definitely as kids. Somewhere along the way of life, the intrigue of doing absolutely nothing turned into an unproductive waste of time. Therefore, we busy ourselves with the mundane, and cue up silly things, such as cloud gazing, to child’s play.
But did you know that there are benefits of unwinding this way? Somewhere along the way, there develops an appreciation, for looking to see instead of just looking.
Ever wonder about those people who see things differently than the rest? They are the ones that have practiced this skill. If you sit long enough staring at something, your imagination will take over, and you will begin seeing things differently.
Ever hear the older generation advice you to learn to appreciate the beauty in the ordinary? Have you ever wondered what they meant exactly when they said that, when all you saw was the thing in front of you?
In the 1980’s, Jack Borden, a former Boston television reporter, left television to form his nonprofit For Spacious Skies. He worked with elementary teachers to develop curricula that incorporated sky appreciation into art, music, writing, photography, and science. The activity guides were picked up in thousands of schools from Pittsburgh to Lubbock, Texas. Researchers from Harvard University tested pupils in Needham elementary schools and found that the program “significantly increased the level of aesthetic sensitivity in visual art and literature,” compared with pupils who were not encouraged to look at the sky. Borden’s program was brought to nursing homes and prisons.
Young children find this activity so therapeutic because it allows their imaginations to come up with different shapes when they look up at the clouds. It becomes more than just looking up at something. It becomes an antidote to boredom.
When you gaze at the clouds, you let go of the hiatus around you, and that’s when you begin living in the moment. Your creative wheels begin spinning in this downtime, allowing the creation of something unique.
In order to nurture that creativity, we must orchestrate moments like these where we let go and just be. It doesn’t cost a thing. So go ahead, sit down on the grass and look up at the sky. If it feels strange at first, invite someone to tag along with you. And, if there isn’t any grass around, a chair on the concrete will do.