Recently, I have been having a lot of conversations with myself about play. It is a really recent phenomenon, actually, only ever since I moved to Chiang Mai (CM) and started playing a lot, and allowing my inner child to play and frolic.
It’s been a long time. As most children that have to grow up way too fast in this competitive and mad-about-money world, I was the same. I needed to get rid of my stupid inner child mentality who wanted to play, and imagine different worlds, if I ever wanted to succeed. I couldn’t be wasting all of my time on nonsense like that! I mean, I had money to make, and empires to build.
Just like that, my feminine, playful side was pushed aside, into the depths of my subconscious, and I began the slow climb to the top. Only my masculine side was allowed to speak up, and if my feminine side did speak up when I was working myself too hard, or not having any fun, it was scolded, and told to shut up.
Play Is Something That Doesn’t Bring You Money
Do you have anything you do in your life just for the pure pleasure of it? Do you have anything like that at all? I didn’t until last year. I had nothing like that.
Everything I did had to bring me money. If it wasn’t, then it was a waste of my time and energy. I didn’t have time to play, and because I didn’t have time to play, I didn’t.
All of my time was occupied with doing, and doing more. I have always loved to write, and I realize now that writing and creating characters and stories and worlds is my play. But at the time, I was told over and over again, I would never make any money from being a writer, so I gave it up.
I lament now all of those years, ten or so, that I spent not writing. All of my imagination that was so pure, and joyful, and beautiful, that was directed into purely materialistic pursuits. Oh man! It makes me sick thinking of it.
But play is something we do for the pure pleasure of it. Now I write everyday. Every morning I write my 1000 words. But I don’t do it so I can make money from it, not that that’s completely out of the question. But I would write, and I will write until the end of my life, because that is who I am. That is how I play.
My Inner Child Has Been Rejected In So Many Ways
I don’t think I need to tell you about the censors or critics that are always nagging us in our heads. There is a certain rule in my family and has been since I was very young. If you are spending your time in something that isn’t going to make you money, then it is a waste of time. It is one of those unwritten rules.
Success is the amount of money you make. That is all. There is no other way of measuring it. It doesn’t matter how creative you are, or how much you love your life. If you aren’t making any money, then the point is moot.
There were so many things we did as children that were pushed away one by one because they were useless. Painting, Writing. Dancing. So much more.
I am not berating my parents or yours. It’s not their fault. It seriously isn’t. It is our society that has made them like that.
The Inner Censor Didn’t Let Me Play
My parents never rested. And they still don’t. They work weekends and they work from morning till late night. They are always moving, and working, and doing. It’s what they know about life.
From when I was a little child, I observed this phenomenon. I knew if I wanted to be anyone really important on this planet, and please my parents, I had to start working hard, from the time I woke up, to the time I went to sleep. It’s all about how much work you can put in. The time you take out to play is just negated from the work time and that is again a waste of our time.
So I work, work, and work.
When does my inner child come out? Well, it is admonished every time it does come out. I tell it, ‘Not now,’ like most parents tell their children.
Not Now, Not Now, Not Ever
If I hadn’t gone to CM, and learned of the numerous ways I like to play, I would have spent a life where the only thing I would have accomplished is killing my inner child with a lot of work. Thank God that didn’t happen.
I learned that my inner child loves to sing, dance, paint, perform, do improv, write, walk, explore, and do deep conversations with people. That’s all of the myriad ways she loves to play.
Wow! I had no idea. Seriously, this has opened up my eyes to no end. I know now I can cater to my inner child, whenever she feels neglected.
Before that, my main admonishment to her was ‘Not now, I’m not successful yet. Once, I’m successful, we can play. Until then, we have to work.’ The problem with that statement is that we are never successful enough. The bar is always raised higher and higher. And then, we realize we are dying, and the time for play never arrived.
Our Inner Child Will Stop Talking To Us Eventually
The more we degrade our inner child, the smaller her voice gets. She doesn’t pipe anymore. But she shows up in other ways. I know whenever I am pushing myself too hard, and working too much, my body starts reacting to that. My heart literally starts hurting through my right shoulder blade, neck, and back.
I can feel the reverberations of ignoring my inner child very quickly. In the past, I thought it was just tiredness. It was just exhaustion. It was just me getting old. Other useless excuses.
But the reality is that it is all a psychological manifestation of my inner child screaming out at me, telling me to stop and take some time to play.
My heart is telling me it is being ignored, and I am spending way too much time on hard, masculine activities. And ignoring my soft, feminine, child side.
The unfortunate matter is that just like our intuition which is another manifestation of our inner child, our inner child stops talking to us if we don’t listen to it for a long, long while.
It is persistent, and it tries, but seriously, after a while, it will stop. It knows we won’t listen.
Creativity Needs Play
Not only is this inner child theory true for people in general, but it is particularly true for creative people. Creative people have more diverse needs for play than others. In reality, everyone is creative. Everyone. But not everyone is actually working on their creative projects. Not everyone is spending the time on fulfilling their creative desires.
I find that the more I do my creative work, the more I want to play.
I need that detoxing time in order to do the creative work that I do. Otherwise, without it, I am coming from a dry wellspring of ideas. I have nothing to give, when I don’t take the time to play. The more I play, the more awesome my creative work ends up being.
When we are in a slump, our main thing is to keep on working, harder and harder, and even harder. But the reality is that, that’s when we really truly need to take a break, and take some time off, and play.
Do you know how you play? Do you have a list of ways you can play in order to relax, and detox?
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