Kick Back and Play!

What does a “successful” artist look like to you? One who with a constantly producing – nose to the grindstone – type of persona? This is one approach to making art, but isn’t creating really about opening the heart and expressing emotions?

Nurturing the childlike sense of play is invaluable in creating a meaningful life. All too often traditional work ethics from the past have nearly extinguished the spark of play. As creators, in particular, play is essential – not a luxury.

Play is part of creativity.

Creativity is a process composed of many activities. All too often we focus upon bearing down and getting the work done. Yes, this is necessary, but it is not the only part of making art. All too often the drive to produce gets us stuck in our intellect or in the groove of an old tape about doing it “right.” The “should’s” start to drag us down.

Play is an investment.

Play is not being sidetracked or distracted. Taking time to romp through your imagination is a way of honoring yourself as well as filling the well of ideas, inspirations and getting into the flow state of creating joyously and with ease. Think about the times when the words or the ideas or colors seemed to come together by themselves. Play opens that door and reinforces that path.

What does play look like?

Play does not have to be an official act. It can easily be incorporated in simple, daily activities.

  • Notice colors in the vegetable isle in the grocery store
  • Walk in nature – in the woodland or along the shore
  • Attend a musical event
  • View a museum exhibit
  •  Chat with a friend over lunch or coffee

Simply try changing the lens of how you see the world.

Give yourself permission.

Playtime often opens the flow of inspiration. Befriend the child within and allow time to play. Writing a list of what makes your heart skip. This can be your playlist. Take time to experiment and notice how you feel. Many times the outpouring that occurs after play is astounding us all.

Give it a try.

Art is More Than Beauty or Expression

A Joseph Campbell quote took my breath way. He so simply stated what I had been feeling in my heart – “Art is the set of wings to carry you out of your own entanglement.” Art is so much more than the end result. It’s not about the painting, the writing, or the producing. It’s about the process – about stepping into our True Self.

Falling into the trap of thinking that what we are doing has to do with the physical world – with the output, creates a sense of separation and often struggle. Yes, that does all have a place, but what is really important here? Why do we feel called to write that poem or paint that scene?

When we open up and allow the flow of what’s actually trying to emerge, we experience ease and grace. There’s a personal sense of healing that washes over the process. This is a sign, as Campbell points out, of untangling part of oneself that is ready to fly off on gentle wings. I love the softness of this expression.

Can you picture this in your mind? Perhaps you can be on the lookout for that sense of a mild lifting or soft clarity as you approach your next art adventure. It can be a magical opportunity!