Sometimes it’s good to rest, even from the urge to make your dreams come true.
When we allow ourselves the freedom to not know anything, the things we really value in life start whispering to us again.
The ability to touch someone’s heart with notes, sounds, brush strokes or words. The power to remind people that magic is real and available in each moment. Reassurance that everything will turn out all right.
In a life where everything needs to be useful, tangible, possible to measure and analyze, sometimes it’s good to just play.
You are loved. Your abilities are needed. You are enough, just as you are.
We often think about change as something coming from outside of us. But, if you listen closely, change starts way before that. There is this antsy feeling, a restlessness, yearning, an inner sense of urgency, yet there is nowhere to go. This pressure can sometimes get very uncomfortable and be projected outside on different more or less deserving subjects like loved ones, family members, work situations.
I’ve started to grudgingly appreciate these bombastic signs of impending change. This Friday, I put on lipstick and wheeled my little turquoise suitcase to the hotel across the Hakaniemi market, feeling like a little girl playing dress up with Mommie’s clothes. It was nice, though, to have a room just for myself. The internet refused to work, so I had ample time to play around with markers, dance, write, read through notes starting from 2006 and choose what I want to take with me into the yea 2014 that is coming closer.
This way of art making allows for a way to move with the Unknown. There is no need to be poised, suave, skillful. What matters at this point is the inner experience, letting the next step emerge in the moment. Step by step, something tangible starts to take form. A space for receiving inner information in a grounded way has been prepared.
So, after writing about this experience, I suddenly had an impulse to paint with the kids who jumped in, both feet first. We got some clean card board from the trash, put on some lovely music from Sås och Kopp and started painting. Magic. Instant. magic. A mentor, long ago, said if I’m ever stuck in painting [or anything] just to paint with our children. He was so right.
All the pompousness, seriousness and weighty stuff poofed in the air, in our dancing to a song about an imaginary jungle, the rhythm of the colors. Aliveness, exuberance and clarity. So easy.
Which activity could makes something you’re pondering right now hilariously easy?
There is a play space available for all of us. It is where imagination, our senses, our impulses, intuitions and feelings come together in creative play, envisioning new things and art making.
This play space presents an opportunity, because it allows us to move beyond the personal, beyond good and bad, into a world that consists of different phenomena that can be combined in creative ways so they form something new.
We can learn to have access to this way of being in the world in any moment. In play space, anger isn’t something to take personally and be frightened or triggered by. Instead it is a powerful energy that can be used for movement and response. Mistakes become opportunities for exploration. Feelings become phenomena to be explored.
What color is your frustration? What form does your tiredness take? Where in your body does your vulnerability live? What kind of a movement does your yearning create in your elbows, how could it be expressed?
In this space questions like: How does it move, does it have a direction, what is the sound, how big is it, is it heavy or light, can you jump into it, does it expand – make sense. Good, bad, beautiful or ugly loose their meaning, because in the sensual world, things are what they are. They can be sensed, experienced, felt, explored, moved, combined, molded.
When you come out of the play space, it is time for harvesting, choosing what you take into your more or less rational every day life, and in which way.
Often, access to your own play space allows you to remain functional, present and able to create, respond, stay in contact in situations that would otherwise overwhelm you with their intensity.
Today, staying in my play space allowed me to clean the whole house with pure power of aggression, having been unable to sleep because of the Engineer’s snoring and some other things. It also allowed me to identify how difficult it is for me to relinquish control when I’m scared and living in a state of uncertainty.
I could dance with the hot sudsy water, making the dishes. Hold compassion for my inner control freak seeking relief by attacking stains with a wash cloth. Go lie on the bed on my belly, feet in the air and say: “I’m not angry, I’m scared.” Laugh when my son decided it was a good time to come tickle my feet. Move move move with the different phenomena in the life of one artist and her family.
Today I remember that what is important is the ability to feel, respond, love, receive, enjoy the experience of being on this nutty planet. The details will work themselves out, one by one. They always do.
What brings you to your play space today?
One day, when I was watching an overload of the Canadian Flashpoint series, that actually show a little bit of the underbelly of high pressure work, they played Courage, Come out and Play by Justin Hines, see video below.
I immediately wanted to draw my own image of the idea. I love the thought of courage coming out to play, because when you’re creating, fear is one thing you can count on. The deal is not to find a way not to be afraid of the unknown, of not having any money, of sucking at what you do, of not finding your audience, of becoming famous, of getting noticed for the wrong thing, of offending someone [I could go on all day]. Remember Georgia O’Keeffe for instance saying: “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
Or Rainer Maria Rilke: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
The challenge is in finding your own ways that allow courage to come out to play.
What works for you? Is it dancing freely in the living room, listening to music, taking a long bath, going bungee jumping, calling a friend, talking to yourself kindly? Or something completely different?
For me, today, it is tackling my writhing to do list, step by step and coloring my hair.
Have a fun day creating and playing with your courage. 🙂
Yesterday was my evening alone with the kids.
“Let’s do crafts Mom!” Was the clamor around the house.
So I took out my box of colored papers, scissors and glue and asked the children if they wanted to have instructions from a book, or just play. After some consideration, they decided to just play. We made a sword, a house, something else.
When I moved to start tidying everything up, suddenly my little artists said:
“But Mom, you haven’t made anything. Make something, make something!”
So I cut out this a form of a black cat from black paper. This started an avalanche of play (I mostly suck at playing with the kids, so this was very enjoyable). Of course there had to be a Sack Girl Cat and a Magic Cape Cat as well as the Black Mama Cat. And where would they sleep? Eat breakfast? Who would they battle with? Every question produced more cut out characters, places and developments, until it was 7:30 p.m. and we had to start preparing for sleep.
“This was so much fun!” My six year old son exclaimed, pleasantly surprised that Mom can play, although she claims to be only a dreary adult.
So here, enjoy the pictures of creative flow, completely unrelated to any work at all. Magic Cape Cat is unfortunately out on a mission and will be updated a bit later.