Every new moon, I pick an overall theme for the next 28 days, an area of my life to focus on. Last month’s was home. This moon’s theme is play.
Obviously we all grow up knowing how to play, how to wonder and tinker with our ideas of ourselves and the universe. But somewhere along the line we start believing everything we do should be productive. That’s when play ends – when exploring the woods becomes “getting in shape” and drawing becomes “creating art”. It’s the expectation that creates the anxiety that kills the sense of play, kills all the possibilities that aren’t directly, measurably beneficial to our lives right now.
This month I’m removing the expectations.
Here’s what I think that will look like.
1. Obviously, I still have to work.
I still have to earn a wage and cook food and clean my house and write things. This isn’t about subtracting work. It’s about adding in play.
2. Less media consumption.
There’s nothing wrong with Facebook and Netflix, but they don’t leave any room for play. They just provide entertainment, which is not the same thing.
3. More creative output.
Whatever I did before I had social media and no one to limit my screen time – playing outside, drawing, taking pictures, writing stories, finding out how the universe works (or creating my own) – I’m going to do more of that.
4. Zero expectation of results.
There are no “results” in play. Play exists for itself, not for some product it creates. It’s also completely unselfconscious.
And here’s what I’m hoping to gain out of this month (ok, maybe not zero expectation):
1. A renewed sense of possibility.
Only doing things that directly, measurably benefit us removes a lot of possibility from our lives, just like only using logic limits us to what we can understand in that moment. I want room to explore all the things I’m interested in.
2. A renewed sense of wonder.
Doing only measurably beneficial things makes us boring and short sighted. There’s little direct benefit in writing stories or learning how black holes work or building forts in the woods, but aren’t those some of the best parts of being human?
3. Creativity without fear.
The difference between the child creator and the adult creator is that the adult worries how people will receive their creations. What an enormous amount of energy we put into this fear! And how much more abundant our lives would be without it.
There is a place for The Editor in our lives, but the initial creation phase is not it. I’m hoping that parting ways with The Editor for a month or so will help me have a healthier relationship with her.
What about you? Do you have any goals for this month? Anything you’re working on?