Bringing back the power of play

I recently read somewhere when thoughts of the past arise the scale is heavily weighed down on the negative side. We spend more time reminiscing over adverse experiences than the brighter, cheerful memories. Speaking from experience I can say I did this a lot during the final overstretched lockdown. Facepalm. 

When it comes to past triggers it only takes a second to return to that fight, flight or freeze feeling. Recognising the issues that get my heart running a marathon, I continuously write them down, repeating each sentence until the script’s broken, shred to pieces and thrown out of my system. When I reach the fourth take I begin to view my reaction as a third person. At times I question my past self with “God, did I really need to react like that?”. Being fair to myself my reaction can be justified, though a better response could’ve been given.

Turning away from triggers with a very loud yawn. I want to change the record, reminisce over the good times and regress the activities that made me feel my playfulest (that’s not even a word but I’ll still use it). Over the years I slightly lost the skill of play, though I hadn’t completely disembarked the bridge. When I’m alone or with a similar crowd I tap into my spontaneous self. Young me pushes aside the world of seriousness, self-consciousness and worries. She views life differently. Her question is, why can we not enjoy the journey of being an adult without all the stressful thoughts that rummage and cause havoc to our minds? 

My main playful activity is art. I can be as joyfully messy as I wish to be and I’ll just Blame it on Art. It’s through drawing that I learn to eliminate the over-analysing doubt that has been instilled into me over the years from various angles. It’s not wrong to draw a house with two chimneys or a car with five wheels, yet we’ll scrutinise the quirk and compare our artwork (or ourselves) with others, thinking to ourselves I wish I had thought of that. Why do we get embarrassed if we draw wonky eyes? (Picasso would be proud). I’ve got a word for unrealistic drawings or paintings and it’s called abstract.

Picking calmness, clarity and fun, everything I now choose to do is turned into a passion without attachment and rules. Play through art brings me back to the present, you can call it mindful drawing, I do. It also connects me to the sense of joy and elation that lives within me. Once I stop following strict over-self-analysing guidelines I’m able to develop confidence in my choices and ideas, taking the first step towards self-kindness.

Being young is a project for my soul.

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