Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Creativity and Play: Links from Jen (177.2)

Jen has written several insightful posts (here and here and here, and there may be more but those are enough for you to get the general idea) about the work of author Brené Brown, PhD.  I really identified with Jen's posts and the information she shared, especially about shame.

I finally looked at Dr. Brown's website today, and read several of her blogs.  I've bought both her books on my Kindle today, and expect to start reading them this week.

A couple of her blogs stood out to me today.  These are things that are absolutely missing in my life. 

Creativity--she says, "As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning." 

And Play--she lists this quote from Brian Sutton-Smith: "The opposite of play is not work; it's depression."

She also writes:
"Stuart Brown has done wonderful research on play - his book has really helped me get my head and heart around play. Rather than defining play, Brown proposes seven properties of play.
One property of play is that it's time spent without purpose. In our culture that's also known as an anxiety attack. Our TO-DO lists are so extensive that we feel like slackers if we're not working to check off tasks every single minute of the day and night. Even sleep has started to feel self-indulgent.
Brown also identifies losing track of time as an important property of play.

I can't remember the last time I was creative or played.  I don't even know what would constitute either for me.

Almost everything I do is related to getting a task completed, even when it's a fun task.   Now there's an oxymoron.

The quote "opposite of play is not work; it's depression" really hit me.

I need more play in my life.  I think my trail running was the closest I've come to play in a long time (and that was in the guise of a workout, but ultimately it was an adventure and fun).  I know that scrapbooking has been a creative outlet, but right now there is so much stacked up and disorganized--I just feel behind and it's a task, not creativity.  I don't play with my kids--that's left to their dad; the time he spends with them is always play, and he's really good at it.  My time with the kids is almost all business--homework, chores, appointments, activities (singing for Sophie, gymnastics for Luke), errands.  We watch movies together and have down time, but often even when that's happening, I'm folding laundry or doing some other housework while the movie is on.

I don't know how to have fun.  Or, better said, I don't allow myself to have fun.  There is always too much to do, too much to clean, too much on my shoulders, and if I don't do it, who will?  Ultimately, I think those thoughts are prideful and martyr-driven, and are the example that was set for me by my mom and my grandmother.

Yet another area to improve and grow. But this one, by its very nature, should be fun filled.  Guess I'll put "have fun" on my next to-do list.  :)


Jill said...

Knitting and sewing are my playtimes. I love that while I'm knitting, I can create something while I zone out! Even something as small as a coaster gives me a very satisfying feeling.

I also like crossword puzzles. I don't know if that counts as play or being creative, but I have been known to throw my fist in the air accompanied by a hearty YES! whenever I finish a crossword. That's fun for me!

Here's a couple of sites for finding hobbies - maybe it will give you some ideas of something you can do that won't take a lot of time or money:



Julie said...

Have you thought about scrapbooking how you are feeling Laura? I ask because I am like you - not good at doing something that is not linked to a chore. I also was taught that :) I do read but if it is pure entertainment I often feel guilty, that I am wasting time that could be `more productive'. When I do get downtime I often waste it (and used to eat a lot - similar to your experience last weekend) almost as a way to fill in time. I have loads of scrapbooking stuff but are so far behind (daughter was married nearly three years ago and not one page done!) Part of that is if I can't do it perfectly I don't want to do it at all - or is that just more procrastination?? Heaven help me! Anyway I have been thinking of pulling out some scrapbooking stuff and just making some pages about how I am feeling, where I have come from in my weight loss /personal growth journey. I don't have a lot of photos of myself but sure I can find stuff I already own to represent feelings and so on. I agree those of us who grow up with martyr-mothers have a lot to unlearn. I am happy that both my girls (25 and 28-years-old) seem able to be quite happy to `play' so guess I didn't pass on that.

Vickie said...

The first thing that came to my mind was playing board games or card games with your kids.

this can be a create feeling outlet, it would give your kids your undivided attention, very little clean up time, can play for short or long time depending on schedule.

Game has to be something you really enjoy too (in my opinion) so you can play in earnest, rather than a baby game or letting them win.

We play kings in the corner, gin, gin rummy, euchre (need 4), hearts, speed (only 2 can play), crazy 8's.

I have a deck in my purse at all times.

youngest has been playing crazy 8's and kings in the corner and gin rummy since she was 3 or 4 so your youngest can definitely play.

She did have a cardholder as her hands were so little. When I was little I used an upside down shoe box and the cards 'sat' between the box and the lid, held them perfectly.

I would also encourage you to think of outdoor activities you can all do together (canoeing, bowling, bikes, etc) as that will help you with your weekends.

I used my quilting as a means of avoidance for many years. So hobbies/creativity can be a negative. The amount of $$$ I spent was also a big problem.

This summer with middle gone so much, and a lot of down time, I have been working on bracelets. I have been using up beads we already had. I only buy to finish something. This has helped me a lot this summer.

I agree - scrap books are sort of bane of our existence . I gave up on them and simply put the pictures in photo albums. I worked on that one whole summer and just putting them in albums was very helpful. My husband and girls helped me (when I was getting started).

jen said...

Maybe now that your husband is done studying you'll have more YOU time? (I hope!)

I think you can start small with creativity -- take a few pictures with your phone when you're out on runs. I have a few that I really love.

I take an art class once a week. For me it sort of doubles as playtime and creativity time because I have no need to get the pictures "done," since I will just start another one when I finish. I really enjoy the process and art class goes very quickly.

I like Vickie's idea of combining play time with kid time if you can find something you would all enjoy. I don't have kids but when I'm playing with my nephew I see the world from his eyes and ordinary things seem new and fun.

I am so happy that you picked up the books -- I am turning into a missionary on these books because they were like turning on a light for me. A lot of things suddenly make sense!