French artist Henri Matisse said, “Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” I appreciate all of those characteristics and desire to foster them in my creative life. I am especially mindful of being curious and following where curiosity leads, and of indulging a love of play.
Play has been foundational to my journey this year, as I seek to make life a little more tender and art a little more robust. Playing is crucial in a child’s development. Through play children learn in a relaxed environment, discovering truths about life while new information or habits are acquired.
And play is just as important in an adult’s life, we just tend to forget that or feel playing is a waste of time. Far from being a childish activity, play develops the imagination, allows for exploration of new ideas, frees emotions, moves energy, develops self confidence, allows for social interaction and opens up new ways of thinking creatively.
I am finding that it also helps me to continually move beyond my comfort zone! My grandson Dayan and I are playing a card game called Sneaky Cards. (Read more about this innovative and interactive game HERE). Each week, we each draw a new card, with the objective of playing the card forward before we get back together the next week.
Last week, Dayan placed his chosen card in a favorite book at the library. I added my card to a Valentine’s Day display. This week Dayan will come up with a new recipe, and then pass his card on. And I drew a create card with the mission to start a collaborative doodle and pass it on.
My sister Linda and I went to dinner tonight, at Chick Fil A. We craved some sister time. It was the perfect place to carry out my mission. I started a doodle and slipped the card into my hoodie pocket.
This is the interesting part of the unique card game. I tend to hesitate when it is time to pass the card on. When I feel that reluctance to complete the mission, I know I’ve run smack into the border of my comfort zone. Playing this game is not only engaging my creativity, it is pushing me to go farther, play more, be braver.
Every week, when Dayan and I draw new cards, we hold our breaths. We know what kinds of activities lie in wait in that innocent looking deck of cards! Some of them will definitely challenge us and push us way WAY beyond what feels comfortable. Sooner or later, we will come face to face with one of those border expanding cards and also face our discomfort. We will play on through, when that time comes, and learn and grow.
Tonight’s mission was simple, compared to what I could have drawn. And yet when Linda and I stood to leave, I reached into my pocket, felt the card…and considered waiting for another time to play. Just then, buses arrived at Chick Fil A, unloading dozens of high school students fresh from a basketball game in town. One of them would surely add to my doodle.
I played. I left the card.
You can play Sneaky Cards too!
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