From bore­dom to bril­liance

South Shore Breaker - - Health& Wellness - CHRISTINE FAOUR ON THE BRIGHT SIDE christine­

Do you re­mem­ber sit­ting around the house when you were a child and say­ing, “I’m bored. What can I do?” Your mother would prob­a­bly send you out­side to play or give you a project to work on. To­day, when peo­ple are bored, they turn to com­puter games or movies, sit around mak­ing small talk or just take a nap. I used to think peo­ple who are of­ten bored could very well be bor­ing peo­ple. Not so any­more. It de­pends on how they han­dle their bore­dom.

What do you do when you’re bored? Binge watch­ing on Netflix or play­ing game af­ter game on the com­puter is not pro­duc­tive and you end up feel­ing like you’ve wasted time.

But do we al­ways have to be pro­duc­tive? Maybe not.

On a win­ter day when I have noth­ing left to do, I sit star­ing out the win­dow at the snow softly fall­ing. At first, thoughts rush through my mind — guilty thoughts of do­ing noth­ing. Then come the thoughts of all the things need­ing my at­ten­tion: a con­ver­sa­tion that ended badly, fam­ily is­sues, pet prob­lems, meal prepa­ra­tions and the fact that my car needs gas.

Even­tu­ally, the rush­ing thoughts give way to empty spa­ces. No thoughts at all.

This is where cre­ativ­ity is born. Slowly, you re­al­ize a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem. The be­gin­ning of a story you have been stuck on comes to mind or you re­al­ize there is a dif­fer­ent way to paint the ceil­ing in the guest room. I like to call these flashes of bril­liance.

These thoughts can only hap­pen when we quiet the mind or when we prac­tise bore­dom. Some peo­ple might call that med­i­ta­tion, but then you’re ac­tu­ally do­ing something. I’ll stick with bore­dom.

The next time you’re on a plane, in­stead of read­ing or en­gag­ing in con­ver­sa­tion with your seat­mate, try look­ing out at the sky and con­tem­plate the clouds. Just en­joy the time and see what hap­pens.

Bore­dom can bring on aware­ness. It tells our brain that it needs dif­fer­ent ideas, thoughts or things to do.

Bore­dom can lead to bril­liant ideas. The cre­ative peo­ple you know may ap­pear to be do­ing noth­ing for grand spa­ces of time and the next thing you know, they are com­ing out with a new idea or project and ev­ery­one thinks they are amaz­ing. They are amaz­ing be­cause they know how to quiet their minds and let the thoughts come.

A few years ago, my son had frac­tured his wrist and there were weekly trips to the hos­pi­tal in my lit­tle French town to change his cast and then take X-rays to see how things were heal­ing. I spent hours in wait­ing rooms while he was whisked away and taken care of. Left to the mercy of peo­ple around me jab­ber­ing away in French and my Mole­sk­ine note­book, I let my­self be­come bored.

While doo­dling in my note­book one day, I started think­ing of my life up to that point. I thought of food and how it was de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent depend­ing on where I was liv­ing and what phase of life I was in. New­found­land food, Le­banese food, French Cana­dian dishes and the favourites that had be­come part of the fab­ric of my fam­ily’s life danced through my mind. I listed recipes that went with each life cat­e­gory. Makea­head meals for a busy fam­ily and my own se­cret recipes were added to the list.

I had not planned to write a book, but there it was star­ing me in the face. Over the next cou­ple of years, I wrote out recipes and the sto­ries that went with them. Even­tu­ally, my book, Eat Where You Are, be­came a re­al­ity. All be­cause I had noth­ing to do but sit in a wait­ing room in a busy hos­pi­tal.

Do you have a prob­lem? Are you stuck on something? Try qui­et­ing your mind and get bored. You might be amazed.

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