Writing

Hibernation, Fermentation, Exploration and Play

dog

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog. I needed some clearing and gathering time. And time to determine what to clear and what to gather.

This has required a great deal of thinking — thinking while I’m driving (distracted driver), thinking while I’m walking the dogs, and thinking while I’m trying desperately to get some sleep.

It has taken some wandering, experimenting, and hibernating time as well.

In September, I received an email from Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, which was the prompt that started me on this journey. Elizabeth facilitates a writer’s group that meets once a month. It’s different than most writer’s groups as we don’t read each other’s work or do critiques, instead we talk about the sorts of questions that a writer might ponder.

Elizabeth’s email prompted the group to think about the word “play” in relationship to writing.

Play?

As I thought about this word, the words that popped into my mind were free, light, uninhibited, unworried about outcome, adaptable, unrestricted.

And I realized how little time I spend in the state these words bring to mind.

fat bike

I work hard to get from point A to point B. The goal is usually for me to become an expert on something or at least good at it. I want whatever it is to become something that comes naturally, that flows and is no longer difficult for me. If I can’t reach that point of flow or at least reach the point where I no longer feel self-conscious about my lack of skills, I will often decide that it wasn’t that important anyway and quit to move on to another it.

During our discussion about playing, some of the writers used the example of music and how you gain muscle memory where you no longer have to think about the notes and which fingers go where. Instead you play freely, taking the energy you put into learning the music itself and putting it towards infusing feeling and personality into the piece. By doing so, you make a song that has been played by millions of musicians into your own unique creation.

And that is how I’d like to think about life.

walk in the woods

I think that playing freely and making my own unique creation means that I need to make some changes. Like…

  1. On the days when no one seems to value or appreciate me or my unique creation, that it doesn’t mean I, as a human being, have no value. More than likely, the people who don’t appreciate my Maeryness don’t see any value in the things I’m good at. They may not even see those things are even there. I think (I hope) this just means my real life is somewhere else.
  2. Believing that I am more than the things that don’t come naturally to me. I want to quit striving to mold myself into something I don’t even want to be.
  3. For my own sanity and well being, I want to play around with the things that I enjoy and I feel good about. If I feel the need to define myself (which is limiting and I should stop it), but if I must, define myself by those things.
  4. I am the person who alone has lived my life and knows the lessons it has taught me. I would have preferred to be oblivious of some things, but life has granted me a certain set of wisdoms whether I want them or not. I am a conglomeration of what I have lived and I’m tired of trying to pretend that I am something else because something else has been seen by me as being better than what I am. It’s time to find value in the tools I’ve been given and stop looking for the ones I don’t have.

I’ve been trying to remember what it was like to be a kid — to remember what I played at and imagined and loved. I want to see if the things I started out loving provide clues to how to bring those playful feelings (free, light, uninhibited, unworried about outcome, adaptable, unrestricted) back into my way too serious life.

And so I’m returning. Slowly. But playfully.

bicycling in woods

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7 Comments

  1. O my, such serendipity! I think I’ve noticed that before with you and I and some other wonderful online sisters of ours. We dovetail so much in our hearts and in our thoughts. And play is the perfect word to relcaim! Yes please, return and play, doing everything your own way and in your own time. Loving kindness to you and one and all xxxx

    1. Thanks Catherine. Yes, your post today was the perfect medicine for what ails me. 🙂 Such moments of common thought and feeling are reminders of how connected we all are.

  2. I think you’re on to something with play. I am at Mayo and that’s one of the things they asked about in a survey I had to take. Imagine seeing things through a playful lens would improve my attitude

    1. If you can remember when you’re stressing out on something to think about how can I approach this playfully rather than as the doom and gloom that I’m going with at the moment, it does shift something. But it is not an easy thing to do!

  3. So glad you posted this, especially that last paragraph about looking back to see what inspired you at an earlier time in your life. And play. How easy it is to stop playing, and then forget who we really are.

    Many happy returns, Maery.

  4. I’ve been in Mexico for the past month and spent more time playing than reading…so forgive that I’m so behind on your postings. There is so much in this little posting…so much that speaks to many of us. Never stop playing and for goodness sake NEVER stop writing. Now I’m off to finish up all the goodness you’ve been writing about over this past month!

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