Apparently, play is not just for children. I keep seeing it everywhere. My "paper mentors" seem like people who just play all day and out pop good ideas. Creativity just bubbles to the surface (read: burps) as they skip along all the merry fun activities they have planned. Yes, I know they work hard. I know they get stuff done. But gosh they make it look like fun. And I keep hearing them point towards play as a part of the restful, rich, creative life.
Leonie Dawson calls creative play Brain Holidays, insisting that "Your creative + spiritual + emotional selves all need energy + time too." Julia Cameron calls creative play artist dates; she can't say it better than this: "Artist dates are assigned play." Keri Smith has a box for readers to draw on her very own website. And I would bet money that Sark's favorite word is probably "fun."
These people are SERIOUS about play, y'all.
And when we understand the mechanics of creativity, we will take creative play more seriously.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, why should we "waste time?" Well, according to Scientific American "cerebral congestion," that tired sluggish mental state, has a cure and the cure sparks creativity! And WHO can argue with those experts?! Seriously. Haven't you experienced it? You're working on a project, hit a wall, then push and push and push. Finally you decide to give up—go do something else. And within 24hrs the wall just disappears. The solution to your problem shows up without your beckoning.
Seriously, the brain-science types say "a-ha moments" are a legit benefit of mental downtime. More from Scientific American: "Related research suggests that the default mode network is more active than is typical in especially creative people, and some studies have demonstrated that the mind obliquely solves tough problems while daydreaming—an experience many people have had while taking a shower. Epiphanies may seem to come out of nowhere, but they are often the product of unconscious mental activity during downtime."
Read the article. It is incredible. You might hear angels sing. And it will lead you to this conclusion: Every person SHOULD take time out for creative play because it is a tried and true means of idea generation.
How can we say no to this? Well, our schedule usually gets in the way, right? Those pesky little responsibilities that take up our time... Okayyyy... So, what we need are some quick and effortless ways to engage in downtime:
- Go on a picnic in your back yard.
- Take your creativity for a walk.
- Make mud pies.
- Go shopping for a fun new creative toy.
- Grab the frisbee and get some space to roam.
- Hike. Bike. Climb.
- Take a joy-ride, windows down, music up.
- Roam Pinterest and call it "research."
- Eat slowly at your favorite restaurant or cafe.
- People watch. <--- This is a good one.
- Spend some time journaling.
- Try fingerprinting again!
What do I do? I get outside however I can. Or I take a nap, which is very restful play! Or I ride bikes with my girls. Or I do "research" on Pinterest!
So, JUST PLAY. Find ways to play play play. Plan a time for creative play at some point in the next two weeks. Or think about a daily moment of creative play. Let your creativity loose. Let it run wild for no objective reason. Goal-less play! Play yields Exploration which yields Discovery which yields Solutions.
How do you play? Where? When? Or do you need someone to remind you how to play?
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