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Encouraging Creativity Through Everyday Exploration

by Vidya Sury May 24, 2013 47 comments
Encouraging Creativity

Encouraging creativity through everyday exploration is a credo I try to live by. Especially at the moment, as I’ve had to make some major changes in my life since the past couple of weeks. More about that later when I am ready to write about it. In the meantime, I am full of gratitude to my close friends, who support me, and reach out at the right time.

This is one of those times and as a result, I have the privilege of welcoming Fran Sorin, Gardening Expert and very dear friend as a guest blogger here on The Red Carpet today.

I met Fran a couple of years ago – just one more wonderful instance of the great connections we make through blogging.  I love her blog and find that I can visit any time and simply get lost in the archives. Besides being a fantastic writer, Fran is a gardening expert. I get all emotional each time I see the fabulous birthday card she sent me last year! I’ve had the pleasure of being featured in one of her posts – How 18 top bloggers turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one on her blog.  I admire her writing style and was excited when she agreed to guest post here.

Please welcome Fran Sorin!

Take it away, Fran!

Encouraging Creativity Through Everyday Exploration

by Fran Sorin

Get out now. Not just outside, but beyond the trap of the programmed electronic age so gently closing around so many people at the end our century. Go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, look around. Do not jog. Do not run. Forget about blood pressure and arthritis, cardiovascular rejuvenation and weight reduction. Instead pay attention to everything that abuts the rural road, the city street, the suburban boulevard. Walk. Stroll. Saunter. Ride a bike, and coast along a lot. Explore” Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History And Awareness In Everyday Life, John Stilgoe

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I was an explorer, I wouldn’t have known how to answer.

Was I a Lewis and Clark, Christopher Columbus, or Jacques Cartier? Uh…no.

The best scenario that I could have come up with was that when I visit gardens, my curiosity propels to explore every nook and cranny.

But an everyday explorer – something that is a part of who you are?

I would have had to ‘fess up – no, I wasn’t. Even when I went into Center City Philadelphia or NYC, both familiar terrains, did I wander around with a sense of discovery? Most of the time – no.

Encouraging Creativity Garden


It wasn’t until I moved to the non-stop, bustling center of Tel Aviv that I unintentionally started wandering. Without a car for the first time in my life, I began to bike and walk everywhere.

Initially it was just to get me where I needed to go. But it didn’t take long for me to notice things that had gone unnoticed before. Or to make a last minute turn down a street to see what lay beyond – with a sense of anticipation and mystery as my companions.

Today every morning when I take my dogs for a walk, I am reminded of how few people take in their surroundings. The majority are involved with some technology that removes them from any possibility of exploring their surroundings.

Between talking and texting on the phone, listening to music on an ipod, or chatting with a friend, there is no chance to connect and savor something quite extraordinary – it is our everyday landscape.

Once you disconnect, pay attention, and explore, magical things happen.

You begin to notice things you never did before – perhaps how the sunlight plays off of a wall, the wildflowers that have naturalized on the top of a low roof, or the design of a building that dates back to Turkish times.

The benefits of exploring are huge. It –

  • Changes the way you experience the world – and think about it.
  • Unloosens your stuck places.
  • Opens the door for you to see things differently.
  • Gives you the skill set to solve problems easily.
  • Develops your ability to come up with new ideas.
  • Helps you by encouraging creativity and invention.
  • Transforms your ordinary surroundings into something quite extraordinary.
  • Lets you experience an element of delight and magic that you never knew possible.

So here are…

Six Tips For Encouraging Creativity Through Exploration


1. Walk or bike.

Encouraging Creativity Boys

Don’t use a car. Biking and walking allow you to move slowly, meander, and take in all of the sights, sounds, and smells that you wouldn’t be privy to when driving.

2. Have no destination or plans in mind. Let your legs or bike lead you in the direction they want to go. Take a route that you’ve never tried before.

3. Stay awake, walk slowly, stop and check out something that catches your eye.

Encouraging Creativity Rabin Square

4. Imagine. If you’re walking in a historic neighborhood surrounded by old homes, why not imagine who was walking down these streets and what was happening back then… Are the cobblestones streets real or have they been made to look old? How about the deep steps with grates on the side – were they for cleaning off a horses hoofs?

5. Discover the interplay of light, shadow, and colors. Once you begin to look for and appreciate this interplay , your way of ‘seeing’ the landscape will change– and from that point on it will never cease to amaze you.

Encouraging Creativity

Throughout history, ‘landscape artists’ chose where they worked based on the quality of the light they were able to capture. Taos, New Mexico, the South of France, and Ireland were and still are popular enclaves for artists.

Bring a camera and take photos – if you want. The purpose of this is not to improve your photography skills. Rather, snap a photo quickly because something compels you to do so.

Encouraging Creativity - Arbor

For example, yesterday on a bike ride in the oldest area of the city, I came upon an old stucco structure with peeling and aged turquoise shutters. The way the light was falling on it intrigued me – so I took 3 photos from different angles within less than a minute.

Tip-If your camera has a color mode where you can change it to black and white, give it a try. The results may surprise you.

6. Work your explorer muscles. Like any discipline, it takes practice to get the hang of it. The more you do it, the more natural it will become and the more enduring pleasure and afterglow you’ll experience.

Thank you, Fran!

Fran SorinFran’s book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, now considered a classic, was groundbreaking when published as no one had written about gardening in the context of encouraging creativity, spirituality, and transformation. Read more about her book.

In addition to being a recognized gardening expert and deep ecologist, Fran is also a broadcaster, journalist, Ordained Interfaith Minister, and Soul Tender. All of her work is based on her deep belief that our need to connect to the earth is an inherent trait – and that by doing so, we heal and experience more joy in our lives.

Please “Like” Fran Sorin on Facebook

Connect with her on Twitter | Google Plus

Her website is at http://www.fransorin.com

And now, question time!

Which of the above six tips did you like the most?

Do you follow one or more of these?

Would you like to add to the list?


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Fran Sorin May 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Vidya – It is a privilege to write a guest post for your wonderful site. Your ability to ‘naturally explore’ wherever you are has been a great inspiration for me.
Thank you for inviting to be here….With gratitude, Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Vidya Sury May 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I am honored to have you here, Fran! Big hugs! Love your post!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Love Peace and Happiness

Anne-Sophie May 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Great post, Fran. I think that exploring and giving our brain new stimuli is a great way to create happiness, awe and get inspiration. We get into a rut quite quickly these days, don’t we? But with a bit of willingness to see and experience new things, we can create more excitement and even fulfillment in our lives.
Anne-Sophie recently posted…030 Your Life Your Success – Tap your Way to Body Bliss with Sandy Ross

Vidya Sury May 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for dropping by, Anne-Sophie! One of the things I love about Fran’s writing is the wonderful feeling of relaxing mentally as I read her words. This post particularly resonates with me as I consciously try to practice it. Enough with the rush, I think. Let’s take time to smell those flowers!

Vidya Sury recently posted…Love Peace and Happiness

Fran Sorin May 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Anne – Sophie,

We live in such a ‘result’ oriented society that most of us don’t stop our routine to let our souls come alive and be in ‘awe’ (love that word-thank you) of what surrounds us. No matter what you do in life, opening up your world, experiencing, and being stimulated, has an effect in other areas. For several years now, studies have shown that kids who play an instrument get better grades in school (I think Math in particular) than those who don’t.

And how right you are about creating excitement in our lives.

I’ve learned a lot from Vidya over the past couple of years about appreciating everyday life and the details of it. She has turned it into an art form.
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Suzy May 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Loved the tips and your post reminded me that it’s time to buy a new camera.
Suzy recently posted…Truth about life

Fran Sorin May 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Suzy –

There are great cameras that aren’t expensive. Because I don’t snap photos with my phone, I try to carry a camera with me wherever I go.
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Suzy May 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I have my eye on a nifty little Canon Ixus. I love walking through my city like a tourist. Amazing what you see that you had never seen before. Great post and pics. Thanks for sharing.
Suzy recently posted…Truth about life

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

You’re right, Suzy! Canon is a great choice – my first digital camera, which i got several years ago is still my favorite. And I simply love browsing my photos and remembering taking them!
Vidya Sury recently posted…X is for Xenodochial

Steve Hayes May 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I just loved your tips for encouraging creativity… especially when you were talking about exploration new places. I am not an athlete but I do like to ride my bike with no idea about the destination and I know how it can be good not just for inspiring creativity but also for having a great time.
Really cool article. Thanks for sharing.
Steve Hayes recently posted…How to Meditate Properly – Taking Control Over Your Mind and Body

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hi Steve! Thanks for dropping by! It only takes a state of mind to enjoy the little sights around us. It is my favorite pastime – walking around our area and clicking photos of everyday things. Have a great weekend!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Encouraging Creativity Through Everyday Exploration

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Hi Steve-

I couldn’t agree with you more about the fun of bike riding. When I start going and then take off, I feel like a kid again – talk about playing, eh?? Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Dana May 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm

These are wonderful tips. Thank you. 🙂

Thanks, too, for dropping by my blog during the Blitz this week. You all made my day!

Vidya Sury May 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Hugs Dana! I really appreciate you dropping by! 🙂 I love that Blitz idea!

Sebastian Aiden Daniels May 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Thank you for this wonderful post. I like the idea of naturally exploring one’s area and being one in the moment with it rather than getting distracted by technology.

Vidya I hope everything is okay. If you need someone to talk to I am here. I send out positive thoughts your way.

Fran Sorin May 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Sebastian –

I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
Your comment about not getting caught up in technology is well taken.

As an explorer, you even need to be careful about using a camera too much – if you’re busy focusing and trying to get a good photo, you’re not in the moment of taking in the landscape ~ it’s somewhat of a paradox. Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Sebastian, how kind of you! Thanks for your positive thoughts, I really appreciate it. 🙂
Vidya Sury recently posted…Encouraging Creativity Through Everyday Exploration

Betsy/Zen Mama May 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thank you for this Fran and Vidya! I just finished up school yesterday and am finished up a big move, too. I needed to ideas to go back to a slower pace. A wonderful post! Fran, I’m working on my smaller garden, too. Lots of little plants coming up!!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…What To Put In Your Child’s Backpack

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I know you’ve had a hectic time, Betsy! You must be busy settling into your new place. Do you have some time off now? Let’s chat soon! Love – and do relax! Hugs!

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm


Congratulations on getting to the finish line on yourmoe – and school. From the time you sold your house until now feels like it happened so quickly. I know you’re going to make it into a beautiful home – you are so creative! xxooFran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Pattu May 25, 2013 at 12:00 am

A very good post. Thanks for the link to the author’s blog.
Pattu recently posted…Urban Farming encouraged by A.P. Government

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Most welcome, Pattu. You might also enjoy Fran’s group blog – 🙂

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Pattu – Am glad you enjoyed. Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Mary Stephenson May 25, 2013 at 1:59 am

Great inspiration to get out an explore more. I go out for a walk everyday and you are so right, you can see so many more things than when driving. You also get to meet people and their pets.

I was raised in the country and did a lot of one with nature. Miss that part of life. Need to get back to the country.

Mary Stephenson recently posted…Mastering Our Lives, By Changes

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Hugs, Mary!You’re lucky to have grown up in the country – what a joy it must be to recall those days! I still walk a lot and love it.

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Mary –
Lucky you having grown up in the country. I have always had the dream of owning and gardening in the country…

It’s great that you get out walking everyday. I do understand your yearning to get back to your roots. Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

My Inner Chick May 25, 2013 at 3:49 am

My Inner Chick recently posted…Once Upon A Time…

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Love you right back! You a great inspiration to me, Kim!

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Thanks inner chick – i appreciate it! Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Brian Sorrell May 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

What a fantastic post! I find myself nodding along as I read, especially about biking and walking. That really changed my perspective on things when I started, and I wouldn’t know half of what I know about Auckland (where I live now) if I only traveled with a wheel in front of me.
Brian Sorrell recently posted…Cussing Kids Are Clear Thinkers

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm

You’re absolutely right about getting to know a place well via walking, Brian. It is the same reason I know my area as well as I do! And how glorious it is to be familiar with all the local treasures! So glad you dropped by – and thanks for your lovely tweet!

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Brian –

How smart you were/are to use biking to get around. When I was younger and went to foreign cities, I would take a bus tour the first day I got there as an overview. BUT after that, it was walking – and taking the tube- everywhere. Today when i travel, no bus tours- even the first day. I put on my sneaks and I’m good to go.

Am glad to meet a like minded soul. Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

PragmaticMom May 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I love your message about slowing down via walking to take in your surroundings. I cherish my dog hikes for this very same reason!
PragmaticMom recently posted…Hospital Bag Checklist When Having a Baby

Vidya Sury May 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Thank you, Mia! That’s the best way to lift your spirits and get some great exercise!

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Hi Mia,

Funny you should mention that, I forgot to add that dogs are a great tool for learning to slow down and take in the landscape….especially if you’re a hiker! Thank you for that reminder (I have 3 little fourpaws). Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Elle May 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Super cool Fran and Vidya. Love these walkabout neighbourhood posts and Fran it’s so true, when I walk in the morning I’m listening to the birds, watching the hawks circle and enjoying the beauty all around me, all the while affirming wonderful things.

It’s a great way to start my day.

Elle recently posted…Pity Or Power – You Choose.

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm


I know what a lover of nature you are ~ as we’ve discussed many times, having it be a part of our lives makes such a difference in how we view the world.
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Jeffrey Willius May 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Fran / Vidya — What a great post! Love your tips for celebrating life’s everyday wonders. Time to reclaim the senses of awareness, curiosity & wonder we had as five-yr.-olds.
Jeffrey Willius recently posted…THE ART & SCIENCE OF FOOD – A Memorial Day Salute

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Oh yes – it certainly is time to re-claim our sense of play from when we were children. All it takes is desire with a dash of imagination ~ Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Hiten May 26, 2013 at 12:50 am

Hi Fran,

This was a lovely post and Vidya, thanks for having Fran over!

Fran, you’re so lucky living in Tel Aviv! I love this city. I was fortunate enough to travel there on business a few years back. I was only there for a couple of days and it was amazing. I want to come back to Israel properly some time.

I loved the point you made about not having a plan! This is just what I like to do when I’m travelling. I always walk whenever I can, with a rough idea of the area I’m in and end up wherever I’m going to end up!

Thank you.
Hiten recently posted…How to Be Likable

Fran Sorin May 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Hiten –

I don’t remember you ever telling me that you were in Tel Aviv.

It’s wonderful that you explore when you’re in cities -there are such jewels that we can discover when we let go of control.

The next time you come to Tel Aviv, let me know in advance. 🙂 Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Cathy Taughinbaugh May 27, 2013 at 3:43 am

Wonderful post Fran. Great suggestions to get out and explore the world around us. I was in San Francisco yesterday with my son and he took me up a look out above the San Francisco Bay that was at the top of some stairs in the middle of a block. What a great discovery that was and I was able to get some beautiful pictures of the views. Walking or biking can make all the difference. There is so much around all of us if we take the time to look around. Thanks for the needed reminder!
Cathy Taughinbaugh recently posted…Relapse: Finding the Way Back One Breath at a Time

Fran Sorin May 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

What a beautiful view to have shared with your son. You know – just that one moment will probably leave an imprint on your brain for the rest of your life. That is the power of connecting with the landscape, being ensconced in beauty, and of course being with someone that you love.
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Suzie Cheel May 27, 2013 at 6:45 am

I love this post thank you Vidya and Fran
This is my life and i love that you have reminded me- It’s what I do whenever I go to the beach and your post reminds me to embrace my creativity more. yes I always have my phone with me and that odd times I don’t I usually see something that I want to capture. LOL
Fran you have me wanting to explore new places to find hidden gems to boost my creativity
Namaste ♥♡♥
Suzie Cheel recently posted…BEach Inspirations: Be Big

Fran Sorin May 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

Suzie- After reading your comment, a change of plans in my morning routine. I usually go rowing but today it is still cool enough with a wonderful breeze – unusual around here – that i’m going to go for a bike ride!
THANK YOU for reminding me to be flexible ~ and to keep on exploring – with gratitude- fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…Old Fashioned Home Remedies For The Garden

Pat May 28, 2013 at 1:58 am

Thank you Fran and Vidya for sparking adventure and spontaneity. I love it and love to explore. Your story rekindles the desire for me to get back out there and do it more than I have.

Leaving A Legacy | Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles June 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm

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