I’ve always been an avid reader, having read my first newspaper when I was four years old. I don’t remember what it was about, nor do I remember reading it for that matter, but my parents and my grandmother all tell me it happened, so I’ll take their word for it.
One of the authors near and dear to my heart is Daniel Quinn. He wrote a collection of books which changed the way I look at the world at a fundamental level. They rocked me to my core, and I have never been the same since.
The second book in the “series” (if you want to call it that) is called The Story of B. It touches on some major philosophical and sociological ideas.
I can’t possibly cover everything that occurs in the book in just one article, so I’m not even going to try. But one part of it I found particularly interesting.
It talks about creativity, and where it comes from. At a certain point in the book, the main protagonist, Father Jared Osborne, a Roman Catholic priest of the Laurentian order, meets with Shirin, a close advisor of the titular character, B.
She tells Jared that humans are deeply fascinated by a good story. This is a universal human trait that spans across cultures. The best storytellers in our culture, past or present, are all revered and held up as important contributors to society. From Homer to Scorsese, Guanzhong to Dylan, we admire and respect these storytellers.
This is self-evident, of course, but what I found interesting was why these stories are so important. Quinn’s theory is that we developed a love of storytelling as a survival mechanism.
What Does This Have To Do With Healthy Exercise?
I’m also aware that we haven’t touched on healthy exercise at all yet, and you might be thinking the title of this article is misleading at this point. But just bear with me here, I promise you it will all make sense by the end!
Anyway, I want to ask you to put yourself into the mind of a wild, uncivilized hunter-gatherer for a moment.
Imagine you’re someone who lived five hundred thousand years ago, before the concept of a vegan, or herbivore, or omnivore, or any sort of diet with a name even existed. There was no such thing as vegan fashion, or any sort of fashion for that matter. You just ate and wore whatever you could find, because the only other option was starvation and exposure.
You’re wandering through the forest, looking for food to feed your family, and you come across a set of animal tracks. “Oh good!” you think, “I’m going in the right direction!” But you’re not home free yet!
From just those tracks, you have to answer many different questions very quickly to track it properly. What type of animal was it? In what direction it was heading? How fast was it going? And what was it doing?
Was the animal scared? Was it searching for food? Was it running away from a predator, or casually strolling after a meal? Was it trying to find a place to sleep? Was it alone, or in a group? Could a group of this animal present a danger to you? Is it even the type of animal you’d want to eat? How long ago was it nearby? How far could it likely have gone during that time? Is there any sign that some other predator beat you to it? And what’s going on around you which might have influenced the animal’s behavior? These and many other questions need to be answered before you can track that animal down.
And the best way to come up with that is to put together a story of what that animal was doing when he was there, and what he has been doing since.
But the game didn’t stop there! You’d have to put together that narrative as you explored the forest. You couldn’t sit down for several hours and write out a long story, because by the time you’d finished the animal would be long gone, far too difficult to track, or in the belly of some other fortunate and more agile predator.
So you’d need to assemble your story on the go. You’d need to track the animal as you put the story together. And then, when you found another clue, like another set of footprints or the remains of a meal, you’d need to update your story with the new information if you ever hoped to bring back enough food to feed your family.
So naturally, those who were the best at putting together a compelling story had the best chances for survival. And because of that, storytelling became a desirable trait in a potential partner.
My theory is that’s why people like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan are so popular, even though by any objective account they’re bad singers playing fairly sparse music, but I digress (and no disrespect meant to either!)
What Does It All Mean???
Because animal tracking is so closely tied to healthy movement and exploration, and creating a compelling story is a creative act, it follows that creativity is closely tied to healthy movement.
So my point is, if you find yourself in a creative slump (it happens to everyone!), it might have more to do with where you are and what you’re doing. Are you hunched over in a chair or lying on a couch? If so, get up and enjoy some healthy movement!
Go for a walk, take a bike ride, do some jumping jacks, or put on your favourite song and dance to the music! Or, try some of the many fitness websites out there that help one get in shape. One great example is who have a fantastic fitness blog called My Fit Station. Read this to see an example of one of their fitness articles. Whatever your favourite form of healthy movement is, do it! Then come back to the task at hand, and you’ll find yourself much more in tune with your creative side. No matter what type of creative work you do, you’ll find you’re much better able to cope with it if you’re enjoying some healthy movement!
Thanks for reading! Yours in good health, this is Brad Edwards for Truth! Live Your Truth, and Respect Others’!