Remembering How to Play

On My Desk. Jamie Ridler Studios.

Recently I cleaned up and out of the studio for a few days so I could turn it into a guest room for my brother. When I moved back in, it took about 90 minutes before I could look around and see index cards, markers, piles of paper, 3 journals, a glue stick and several notes to myself! I have to admit it’s the same in our living room. I can tidy everything up and then I sit down and before I know it I am surrounded by yarn, journals, a pencil case full of markers, a pair of scissors…

I explode into a creative studio wherever I am!

This is particularly true this summer as I’m having so much fun throwing myself into new creative projects. I just finished my very first ever crochet rag rug. (If you watch stART, you’ll have seen it). And I’m learning to knit all over again and have jumped (relatively) fearlessly into the world of cables. I’ve bought a mixed media journal that’s small enough I can tuck it in my purse. I’ve bought a little set of watercolours and have been experimenting with all sorts of different pens.

I feel like a kid again!

A lot of clients come to me because they want to invite more play into their life. They want to have more fun and feel more alive. Often when I ask them what they find fun or what kind of play they enjoy, they don’t know. The distance between their adult self and their little kid self has grown so vast and so far. But it doesn’t take much to bridge the gap at all.

It isn’t about time or space or energy or supplies. It isn’t even really about a particular activity. It’s about attitude!

When you were a kid, you weren’t just playing when you were skipping or swimming or dancing. You were also playing in waiting rooms and classrooms and likely, to your parents chagrin, at the dinner table. You were imagining and giggling and experimenting and wondering.  You didn’t take things so seriously!

It reminds me of that current commercial about how the things we did as kids didn’t always make sense. They make their point by showing things like a kid in a big yellow rain slicker standing in the bathtub under a shower head pouring rain. In the same vein, part of the appeal of the gorgeous photos we love so much on blogs and in magazines like Artful Blogging is that the people in those pictures are playing too! They carry helium-filled balloons in the park and paint their toenails each a different colour and wear daisy crowns in their wild hair.

You can play too.

You can skip on the way to work. You can sidewalk chalk hopscotch in front of your building. You can wear a tutu and flowers in your hair. You can laugh too loud and stay up too late. You can make bad jokes and sing really loud. You can do somersaults and cartwheels and spend hours staring at the sky or into the grass. You can spend a whole day eating licorice and reading books. You can use your imagination. You can play.

Get playful this week.

  • What feels like play to you?
  • How can you play at work? At home? En route? In the bathtub? In the backyard? On the subway?
  • When you were a little kid, what did you love?
  • What was the mood of that activity? Was it adventure? Contemplation?  Magic? Heroics? How could you bring more of that into your life right now – today?
  • Give yourself the opportunity to have some fun. Put all the adult baggage down for just a few* and have some fun. Get out there and play!

*I promise you it will be right there where you left it when you get back. If you come back!

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