Find Your Space

Tulips

I clearly recall the turning point at primary school, when I began to dislike P.E. classes. It occurred with the imposition of rule-based sports we were obliged to play, where the focus lay in ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ games I had no personal input in the creation of and had expressed no desire to play, as demonstrated by the following scenario:

P .E. Teacher: Here is a bat, now hit the ball and start running

Small version of me: Er – why?

Prior to this, P.E. lessons had consisted of the far simpler pleasure of being asked to ‘find a space’ where we would be encouraged to imagine being a caterpillar, or a flower blossoming, or some other such activity which required a sense of interpretation more naturally aligned to the spirit of play. I suppose in hindsight, the transition in the games we were compelled to play, signalled the incremental constriction of childlike inquisitiveness expected of us, in order to ‘grow’ towards the state of adulthood.

And so on into secondary and higher education, I focused purely on what I was going to ‘be’; projecting my ambitions upon some indistinct future point in time, when I would become someone other than I already was. My default state was one of constant anxiety, never completely at rest for the nagging push to strive for the phantom version of myself, concealed just beyond some nebulous location at the horizon – ever elusive, ever shifting. I had forgotten how to access that personal space in which I could allow myself to be childish, joyful and playful – to feel at liberty to just ‘be’. Moreover, I had forgotten that I had forgotten.

But it is never too late to remember the process of allowing your inner child to re-emerge. It is a skill involving a shifting of perspective, from the jaded sense of having seen it all before and knowing how it all ends, to a desire to shed inhibitive beliefs and preconceptions. Recovering this state is a skill which requires a conscious decision to practice, initially with those small pockets of time in my day, eventually expanding to a prevailing state of being, as the practice becomes easier to access.

It is necessary to find your own way of tuning into your space – whether through becoming lost in a piece of music, gazing aimlessly through a window, or through meditation or prayer. The key lies in entering that place of gentle solitude, where the physical body and the external world are no longer discrete entities. In this state, those paradoxes of being absent but present, everywhere but nowhere, make perfect sense for just that flicker of a moment; where calm perspective is gained; where you are at liberty to be yourself without fear of ridicule or censure. It is in this domain that the imagination can begin to take flower in all its uniqueness.

This is the fertile seedbed of creativity.

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