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Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Writing=Creativity=Play (A Post That Might Make You Nervous)

Dream_feather_blue_266249_l At the fall orientation for the Loft, author Debra Moffitt (Awake in the World) did the keynote speech, which was really a workshop, and a presentation the following day.

She began with a meditation designed to take us into our “secret garden,” the place of sanctuary for our spirit and creativity.  And after we had visited, she passed out boxes of crayons and had us draw one aspect of our garden and share it with another person.

I liked the whole secret garden thing.  Mine was actually in a glorious cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows and just as we finished up the meditation, a man swathed in a royal robe with an amazing velvet hat of many colors glided up to me.  Alas, I didn’t get to hear what he had to say, as the meditation was over.

Debra also talked about the value of using dreams, and gave us a few clues on how to remember them:

  • Keep a pad of paper and pen by your bed
  • Write about the dream as soon as you wake up
  • Write in the present
  • Give the dream a title
  • You can ask a question and put it under your pillow to induce an answer

The whole idea of accessing my dream life fascinates me, and I’m terrible at it.  I rarely write down my dreams and, no big surprise, also rarely remember them.  Do you?

And now for the part that will make you nervous: Debra talked a lot about the value of play.  It can activate our right brains and heighten our creativity.  Hence, the crayons.  And yet play makes us nervous.  So nervous it has become nearly a radical activity in our society.   We’re obsessed with work.  And control.  And getting things done.  And sticking to a schedule.  Who has time for play?

I have to admit, I have a hard time with it.  I’ll do “playful” activities but they generally have a purpose: knitting, which makes useful things, hiking, which is exercise, gardening, which makes a pretty yard.  I like to paint, and yet I rarely do it.  Too close to play, I suppose.

It was interesting to watch the reactions of some of the workshop participants.  They were uncomfortable with the idea and in some cases, outright resistant to it.  I get it.  I felt somewhat the same way.  And yet there’s value in the idea of play.

What about you?  Does working with your dreams or engaging in play appeal to you?  And here’s a deeper question: would you do it just for sake of it, without knowing it would help your creativity?

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Image of dreamcatcher by aschaeffer.http://www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=46425

0 thoughts on “Writing=Creativity=Play (A Post That Might Make You Nervous)

  1. Liz Taylor

    Enoyed this post, Charlotte. I recently started keeping a journal at my bedside to record my dreams because they tend to be quite bizarre and like to try and figure out where they came from. Of course, most of the time I forgot to write them down and then they’re gone.

    I’m not a big “play” person either, but I do believe in making time for leisure activities that have no purpose and no schedule. To that end, I’m taking a road trip next week to see friends and just be spontaneous. I do plan to bring my computer so I can blog a little, brainstorm, so I can take advantage of that free, creative time and see where it takes me.

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    Liz, I LOVE road trips. Something about being on the move always inspires me. And I think you make a good point about leisure, which for some reason makes me less nervous than play. Enjoy your trip and may it spark many creative ideas for you!

  3. Leisa A. Hammett

    Love this Charlotte!

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Thanks, Leisa!

  5. Sue Mitchell

    I couldn’t agree more that play is critical and yet people (including me) totally resist it. The thing that motivates me to play is that I want to be lovable. Sounds odd, doesn’t it, but it’s true! I want to be a fun person, so sometimes I’ll sort of force myself to play just so I can be someone people enjoy being around. Otherwise, I can be way too serious. So in that sense, I’m still after some “greater” gain than just play for play’s sake. Crazy.

    Thanks so much for this post. What a great reminder to have fun and play just for the enjoyment of it.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Sue, I totally get that motivation. We’re so used to work and our busy lives that doing something for no real reason, like play, is anxiety-inducing. Which kind of defeats the purpose. If I tell myself its good for my creativity, I might have an easier time allowing myself to do it.

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