If there was only one piece of advice I could give to those starting out or even on their way but struggling to create, I know exactly what I would say. Always make time to play! Always. It doesn’t matter what medium you are using–fabric, paint, pencils, film, etc. Set aside time to play. No limits on what you produce. No expectations. No rules.
Deep inside each of us is a loud voice, our internal editor, our harshest critic. This voice likes to be the driving force in all things, at all times. It takes a lot of patience and a lifetime of practice to keep it in its place. The very nature of play is foreign to the internal editor, which makes play the perfect exercise to exorcise that pesky devil.
This is yet another reason I love fabric scraps. Having a little stash of scraps at the ready means I can play whenever I have a free moment. I admit, I spend a great deal of time playing. This is where the ideas come from, where the sparks of creative fire reside. Everything that says “Melissa P” comes from this spirit of play.
Play has no hard and fast rules, except one….let go. Let go of every negative and critical thought. Let go of every past triumph or failure. These are obvious enough, although not necessarily easy. But there’s one more thing to let go of, something you might find counter-intuitive, even anathema. You must let go of your dreams and fantasies for the future. Yes, you read that right…let go of the dreams of glory.
Oh, I know this not a popular idea. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone pinning this thought on Pinterest boards, that’s for sure. In fact, our culture seems to teach us that our lofty goals and dreams of our 15 minutes of fame are the only thing that will make us better, more important people. If only we reach far enough, all our dreams will come true.
It’s deceptive. And very harmful to reaching your full potential, not just as a creative but as a human being. You see, our potential doesn’t lie out there in the stars waiting for us to grasp it. It lies within us. And we must turn inward to reach it.
Play is a way of making room for our potential. It isn’t about pretending to be something we hope to be one day. It isn’t about presenting a different face to the world, trying on masks and personae. It’s about being authentic and true to ourselves in an atmosphere without judgment or rules. It’s from this place that growth begins, releasing the possibilities that have been lying dormant all our lives.
If I could wish one thing for all of you, it would be for you to know the liberating joy of play.