H.U.G Corner: Thought of the Week 7/17

Location : South Houston Hospice

Quiet Mind: One-Minute Retreats from a Busy World

When our creative thinking has come to a halt and our thoughts are caught in fruitless, repetitive circles, it is time to stop and allow our minds to meander.

This was certainly true for Elias Howe, who lived in the mid-1800s and is credited with inventing the sewing machine. The story goes that one day, as he was working on the sewing machine project, he became particularly frustrated. He had been working with a regular sewing needle and had tried many different ways to mechanize it with no success.

He decided to take a break from his efforts and sat at the window of his workshop, gazing out in reverie. He later told his wife what happened:

“As I wandered in my mind, a remarkable scene came to me. I was in a deep jungle and I was in a big, black pot with a roaring fire under it. I was being cooked alive! A warrior came at me with spear raised and ready to thrust. But what I noticed at the moment was something very curious about the spear: It had a hole in its tip.”

The pivotal discoverer in the invention of the sewing machine is that the hole for the thread goes in the tip of the needle, not at its other end, as in a regular needle. The breakthrough had eluded the inventor in his conscious intellectual efforts, but came to him poetically, graphically, in his moment of reverie.

Creativity thrives on doing nothing. In the moments that might seem empty, what has been there all along in some embryonic form is given space and comes to life.


Today, give the gift of doing nothing to your challenges that need creative solutions.


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