The dance concert I attended last week was wonderful. It was exhilarating to see and feel the enthusiasm of the performers. One of the pieces on the program was particularly engaging.
While much of the movement was very complex, the dancers performed it with such ease and passion that you couldn’t help being drawn in. In fact, when you watch outstanding performers or visual artists creating art of all kinds, you’re likely to see people who are uninhibited, fully committed to what they’re doing, and totally caught up in each moment. Artists create without reservation, giving themselves over completely. They don’t think every moment about how to do what they do; they just do. There is no asking about the where, who, or what.
I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.
~ Miles Davis
Artists learn to allow, letting go of thinking, forcing, or trying to make things happen. There are, of course, parameters; but once they’re set, they get out of the way and begin to “play.” They enjoy an unrestricted freedom that takes them out of the desire to be in control or in charge.
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
~ Erich Fromm
All of us have this power to create; it’s an innate ability. But getting ourselves out of the way and letting it flow is the key to actually being creative. The unrestricted freedom experienced by the artist can help you get out of the linear, problem/solution mindset most of us have learned as we move through childhood to adult life. As we get older, the opportunity to “play” is reduced as we become busier; and we become more and more fearful of being embarrassed and judged
How can you begin to let go of control and create your life the way an artist creates art? How can you move through life’s events with ease and passion? How can you remember how to “play”?
- Watch a group of young children on a playground and observe the uninhibited, fully committed ways they play. They’re totally caught up in the moment and play with abandon.
- Move your body. Dance freely without having to follow a certain step. Move with or without music and use all five senses. Dance by yourself or invite brave friends to join in the fun.
- Laugh with your whole body.
- Run and play freely with your dog or your young children.
- Watch silly YouTube videos— really tune in.
- As quickly as you can, write some ideas that come to mind on separate scraps of paper. Put the scraps of ideas in a bowl and draw one. Try it.
Note how you feel when you have done one or two of these things. Were you able to remember what it feels like to be unrestricted and free? Did you enjoy the freedom of not having to control? Now imagine expanding this way of being into other areas of your life.
My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.
~ Ron Olson
As adults, we often strive for originality and constantly self-correct. It isn’t that creative or productive. Instead, go for it like an artist. Become more spontaneous and engaged in open possibilities.