I rediscovered play this week.  We’ve all had those times.  They come into our lives for many different reasons.  We all have times when it seems the joy of doing what you love is either gone or a bit dimmed.  For a great many reasons I was there the past few weeks. My brain and body were tired from a busy month, some traveling, exciting happenings, family visiting, new ideas and projects to learn…all good things but I was tired.

I’ve never been good at taking that pause to just be and to let myself rest before moving on. There was a commercial for something or other at one time that used the tagline, “the pause that refreshes”.  There is refreshment that comes with slowing down and pausing instead of just barreling ahead full steam on to the next thing.

The traveling I did was to officially receive my Master of Photography degree.  That was such an amazing experience, something I had worked towards for many years.  I realized the other day that I had had this unspoken notion that everything I create now had to live up to some mythical level of excellence worthy of someone with the title of Master of Photography. How ridiculous!  But it’s what we all do to ourselves, what the gremlin in our head tells us.

So, I gave myself permission to just play.  No expectations. No standards to live up to.  Just take pictures for the pure joy of it.  Twice last week, I took my camera and headed out to play and capture whatever happened to speak to me with no expectations other than to play.

One of the days, I was reminded of how much I love the trees this time of year, especially at dusk when the sky can be any color from hazy purple to fiery gold.  I had forgotten how much I love the patterns of those bare branches meandering their way up into those colors. In trying to “out do” myself each week with the mandalas, I had forgotten where I started with them and how those trees brought me such joy.  Putting myself in play mode brought that back to me.  And I love these mandalas!  Their delicate colors and patterns just delight me. They are the kinds of designs that I envisioned when I first began creating mandalas.

Carl Jung knew what he was talking about when he said,  “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”  Notice that he says the play instinct is a necessity, not just something to do if you have time.

How will you put yourself in play mode this week?