What do you ache for? Is there a goal that seems just out of reach? Are you longing for a deeply satisfying career or a meaningful and purpose filled retirement? Do you yearn to follow your bliss, climb out of ruts, or leave the status quo behind? Or maybe you’d just love to bring the joie back into the vivre. If it becomes a struggle it can be exhausting!
A gap can emerge between what you want and what you have; where you want to be vs where you are. That space can often feel like an abyss. You feel like you’re standing on the edge and looking out into nothing and that you are all alone.
That gap is your creative play zone.
When I was a little girl we had a swing set in our backyard. It was a simple set. Two swings, a small glider and a monkey bar on each end. The four poles that held it all together were anchored in small cement feet on which my father had carved his and my mother’s initials: pk+ rk.
I loved to swing. I can feel the pumping action even as I type this. And, as I pumped that swing, I would sing. When I taught my granddaughter to swing we sung. It’s a requirement. The louder you sung the higher you swung! Or maybe it’s the other way around. No matter.
Our backyard was a safe place to be. Fenced, and accessible only through a small walkway on the side of the house, it was its own world. We could sing, swing standing up, hang upside down on the monkey bar and be on our own with no supervision.
Back then the yard was big. It got smaller as we grew. No, it wasn’t perspective. As we got bigger the house got bigger. An addition took up yard space; pools grew from kiddie pools to big ovals with a deck. Eventually, the swing set got crowded out and fun went from boisterous singing to cool lounging in a bikini.
Where does creative play go?
A time filled with the moment. The only rules were those you made up on the spot, in a safe place without judgment or comparison, a place to feel exuberance throughout your whole body. No gaps; just fluid movement from one brilliant idea to the next.
6 Ways to Slip into Your Creative Play Zone and make your way to the things you ache for
1. Ask yourself if the gap is really as big as it feels. What is the essence of what you want? Draw on the mindfulness of children at play and check your personal sandbox. Are any elements of your dream already there? Awareness is always the place to start. With this awareness you’ll feel more pleasure and appreciation and moving forward will become easier. Think about using those essences as a bridge.
2. Is the other side a little foggy? Often we feel a yearning for something but can’t put a finger on it. Like the feeling of hunger with no idea what will satisfy it. What are some ways to gain clarity? One way is to not strain for it. Play a more Kaizen-like game of twenty questions by asking yourself one small question at a time. Don’t push for an answer; let your inspiration emerge. It will if you don’t bully it. Be a kind friend to yourself.
3. Be selective in your playmates. This is your playground and you get to make the rules. Consider holding at arm’s length those who will tell you what to do and how to do it. Hang a “keep out” sign for the ones who pass immediate judgment on a fresh, new idea. Be especially wary of the naysayers (as well as the well-meaning) who tell you it’s already been done or you’re too old or it’s too hard. NOT!
4. Let your dreams evolve the same way childhood games did. As one client told me, “I know something’s ahead. I just don’t know what it is… yet.” (Hire a coach!) Adopting a let’s see attitude instead of having a concrete end game will open up possibilities not even considered. Goals are great but let them be fluid. It really is about the journey, hackneyed as that may sound. (Remind me to tell you about a long-ago car ride in search of the Delaware Water Gap.)
5. Consider that there can be a world of riches in the gap. It could be like going into your grandmother’s attic and finding a whole new dimension. Or a scavenger hunt where the objects to be discovered pop up on their own and give a hint of where to go next. It’s a sense of adventure that can bring the gap to life. Sometimes you need to fall into the gap rather than bridge it. Yes, it might be part of the journey.
“Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with and through people.”- Earl Nightingale."
6. Are you really alone? Look around you. Who else is there? How might you band together. It’s hard to do it alone. It stinks to feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t have it all figured out (Hint: we never do) As adults we can look back and see how just about every teenager feels the same insecurity and fear and yet each one still feels that her zit is the only one visible. Trust me, there are many folks out there who are feeling just the way you do! And, with the internet that number becomes bigger and bigger each day. Find a group whose interests pique yours. Join a master mind. Pick your head up and go out into the world and explore others’ playgrounds. Find new friends, a new tribe.I did that years ago when I first left my corporate job. I never knew these wonderful folks were out there! They made all the difference for me as I found my way across my gap. They provided dots for me to connect. They still do.
It really is all about creative play.
Kathy Kane blogs about the creative process in the everyday, in writing and in the magical transition to the second half of life.
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