The Secret of Creativity ~ Part Six
PLAY MORE. THINK LESS
When we were children play was effortless, it came naturally. All children love to play. To make up games, tap into their imagination, and enter a world of make-believe. Somehow though, between childhood and adult-hood, many of us lose out ability to play. We exchange play for work & responsibilities. The only time we know how to play, for many of us, is when we have had a few drinks. Many of us may certainly feel that play and work do not mix.
Yet play should not just be for kids. It is as important for adults as it is for children, maybe even more so.
When was the last time you really let yourself go? When you were really playful, a bit silly and had some fun? I’m sat here thinking about the last time I really let go and had fun. On Saturday it snowed. I wrote this back in winter, if you’re thinking surely it hasn’t snowed in June in England- then again knowing the unpredictably of the English weather, snow in June is not so improbable! I sat inside ALL day with my book. I did not venture out. I watched as the huge flakes of snow floated down from the sky and created a winter-wonderland, from behind the panes of glass of my living room. I could easily have got all wrapped up, & ventured outside in my winter woollies I could have taken Phoebe, my dog for a glorious winter walk, yet I didn’t.
I felt no excitement.
Rewind 15 to 20 years and the sight of snow would have sent me whopping with crazy giddiness. You wouldn’t have been able to stop me from going outside and playing in the snow.
Later that week I spoke to a couple of people who had made the effort and gone out into the snow. They all waxed lyrically about how beautiful and magical it had been. Each of the people I spoke to had found it a special and memorable experience. Supposedly it had been “perfect snow”, or so I was told!
I missed out.
If I had made the effort. If I had decided to venture out of my four walls, I’m certain I would have found it magical and fun too. It’s not every day it snows like that. Yet I couldn’t be bothered. It was easier just to stay at indoors, safe.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little push. To let go and get amongst it more often.
As adult we can begin to take ourselves far too seriously.
I am guilty of this.
The interesting paradox is that when we do let go and lighten up, we tend to be far more creative then when we are uptight, and all serious.
Play opens the door to creativity.
Play can help us help get us back in touch with who we really are. Our most inspired creativity comes when we let ourselves go and play.
It’s strange, but in this world we think that things should be difficult, hard and complicated. Yet I’ve found that when I do let myself play around, whether it be when creating a dance, art or writing I am more likely to have a flash of inspiration.
It can’t be that easy we think. We believe that if you want to create something of real value you really need to try hard. Yet often we try too hard and put pressure on ourselves in the process. We enter into a struggle, and then it loses its joy. That is why I find free writing (if done properly!) so effective. It quietens our over-active mind. It allows us to let go, and often then we write from a place that is true to who we are. It is uncensored, natural and its substance can often be very surprising.
When we really let go this is when we tap into our most creative energies.
When was the last time you really let your hair down and had a really good laugh? When was the last time you were really silly? I have a little fridge magnet on my fridge which says, “Do something silly each day.”
“There’s a close relationship between the “aha” of discovery and the “ha-ha” of humour.”
Play is actually one of the most important elements of discovering who you are. As I said earlier, as children, play is the most natural pastime in the world. We love to play.
Think back to when you were a child, how did you spend your time playing?
Don’t take yourself so serious.
As adults we become self-conscious. We worry about what others think of us. We are conditioned to act a certain way. I guess we get more uptight.
Yet getting all serious and up-tight is not helpful, and it’s certainly not much fun either! I think we all know this from experience.
The strange paradox is that it will often have the very reverse effect. There is such a thing as trying too hard.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE THINGS MORE FUN?
CREATIVE PLAY TASKS
“Those who approach life like a child playing a game, moving and pushing pieces, possess the power of kings.” Heraclitus, Philosopher
So think back to your childhood.
What did you love to play?
What games did you enjoy?
If you’re struggling to get in the creative mood here are some pick me ups. Doing something different, something fun could give you the inspiration and jump start you need.
~ Watch a silly feel-good film.
~ Laugh at yourself
Humour stretches your mind
~ Create to music
~ Get a big sheet of paper on the floor. Use old wallpaper of you have it and go crazy, really let go. Doodle and scribble.
~ Change the energy. Get up and move. DANCE. Just getting moving can help us get out of a bit of a funk that we all can get into from time to time.
~ Get a blank page and deface it. Write anything you want.