This is not just aimed toward any artist or performer. It can be applied to the life of any person so lucky to indulge themselves in a creative activity. But aren't we all creators? Every sentence you utter is an opportunity for creativity. I hope, simply, to help deepen your interest in your own interest. Enjoy.
There are different aspect or modes of the creative process. Play is often at the beginning. It's the fertile soil.
This can be difficult for people who are tense mentally or physically. It is also those people who may benefit the most. Think of a massage given to overly worked shoulders. But for those who know anything about creative expression, play may come more naturally. It's important to not worry about "messing up" while playing. Of course that's easier said that done.
Literally, Play is impossible to describe without diluting its true manifested meaning. "Play" is a mental and emotional state that is usually most powerful when you accidentally find yourself in it as opposed to trying to play. It’s something you find yourself doing. That being said, please don’t be afraid to try.
You might think of Flow. Flow, to me, is a little different. During Play you are in a state of Flow but during Flow you are not necessarily in a state of Play. There is also study Flow, work Flow, etc. Play can have a goal but doesn't need one. It's unattached to any outcome. Play isn't judged by performance or difficulty level. It's unedited and unrefined. Play is raw material.
Set it Up:
Think of common circumstances in which you tend to make entering Play easier. Some of us may have to go back to childhood. Some of us can remember a particular night of dancing, laughing with friends. It can be flow writing, meditation, walking, skipping, feeding ducks, drawing. When do you feel most free? What was the mood? What happened that day? Who were you? How did you feel and what might have brought you to that feeling?
It can be difficult to reach this state if your mind is still rattling from a day at work. How can a pragmatic and perfectionist mind tell you the way toward Play? This part of your mind, the "manager," the "editor," may see no point in entertaining this pursuit of Play, to give time and space for it. We are accustomed to existing in a higher stakes framework. In play, the stakes are blissfully low. That being said, what you lose by never engaging in Play is incalculable.
You may have to make time to practice Play. A funny thing about Play is that during your intended Play time it may not seem so natural. It may not flow the way you hoped. Then later that day, or the next day, an element of true playfulness might suddenly sweep you off your feet. It seems to come "out of nowhere." This may lead you to the mistaken conclusion that scheduling play is "not possible because it can’t be planned." Sure, that sounds true and profound but I will remind you that the attempt and so called failure to Play is what primed you. Your efforts and potential frustration in trying to "let go" may build your receptivity and open you up. Then, once you forget about trying, Play may come.
Be grateful and attentive to each glimpse. Don't grasp. Keep practicing. Trust that more will come. It's like fishing. It requires patience.
We all have a kind of Play we can access. Once you find your Play, whatever that means to you, it can be addictive. How will you know when it's Play? Well, were you lost in fun?
helps you relax, synchronizing body and mind
a state of knowing with the body, not the mind
a state of channeling a narrative or character, suspending your own disbelief
Play can be attained by anyone, it’s not reserved for "creatives"
characterized by fun
Why is Play important to you?
What is Play for you?
What situations or circumstances do you feel are conducive to Play?