Brain Pickings is one of my all-time favorite websites. It’s a thoughtfully curated selection of intellectual inspiration and bookwormy quotes. The woman who runs it, Maria Popova, who describes the site this way: “The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, insight, information, inspiration, and all the fragments populating our minds — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.” So good, right?
Naturally, Popova has accumulated quite a bit of knowledge in her years of running the site. In 2013, to celebrate seven years of pickin’ brains, she published a short essay on seven things she learned. It’s a lovely little meditation on how to generously give your time while protecting your own integrity, how to respect yourself and others, and why changing your mind is an important part of being human. Now, the fundamental points of this piece have been made into a sweet animated video. It is the greatest way to start a Saturday—some gentle music, some inspiration, and a reminder that slowing down and doing nothing at all is sometimes necessary. Vital even. It gives our brains time to be creative, space to play with new thoughts. I tend to think of my best story ideas in the shower. I think it’s partially due to the water (few things make me feel creative or light or good or strong like water on my body) but it’s also because showering is metal downtime, when I have nothing to do but let the drops wash over me and think, quietly and unfocused, open and without purpose.
I’m getting sidetracked! Go watch the video. Then go create things. Or do nothing. It’s Saturday, after all.