Loss of creative play


A Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity discussion topic

Copyright 2006 by K. Ferlic,   All Rights Reserved

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Loss of creative play
Why we lose our ability to creatively play
Our early life experiences
Become a creator
Looking a little deeper at the pain of in our play being thwarted

Creative play is about being free to explore options and having a passion and enthusiasm for life to engage live to implement those options. It is enter the type and kind of play of a very young child where the child is free to be spontaneous and innocent to discover and explore themselves and the world in which they find themselves. Young children are readily able to enter this state. Over the years, while watching people in the work place lose enthusiasm for their work, the question kept coming back, “Why do so many people loose their creativity and enthusiasm for life by the time they reach middle age?”

Why we lose our ability to creatively play (Top)

Where was that spontaneity of childhood to explore. Young children, in general, seemed to have such a great capacity for creativity and were so free to try new things. They engage life with an enthusiasm that is so quickly lost. Where did the willingness to approach life in that child-like enthusiasm go? How does one get an individual into that childlike enthusiasm to flow with the changes that enter their life. How do we lose this enthusiasm and why? How do we loose that child-like approach to life?

There are many ways and they are quite diverse. How and why we don’t live our creative passion and why we may have found it necessary to mask our passion can be explained by a myriad of different reasons. The most obvious are the incessant do’s and don't’s that are levied upon us by our parents, our society, our churches and whoever else we listen to for our direction in life. There are those activities which cause us to drain and leech our energy that will ultimately kill our passion. The typical ones are the mundane and routine tasks of life, especially if they have no importance relative to our heart's desire, and the endless obligations that we do for others, to name a few.

Also, we love to judge. In judgement we innocence and spontaneity. We are taught from the earliest age to judge. We judge the world outside and are justified because the guilty ones are outside us and not us. We become attached to the actions of others and the judgements we levy against them as if those outside us really do control how we view the world. We judge our actions as mistakes or set backs as failures and defeats rather than the learning experiences that they are. We become attached to the outcome of the action rather that the lesson learned in the action. We lose enthusiasm for tasks that are hard failing to realize they build the endurance we need to sustain our vision. We project the past to the future, expecting it to be more of the same, rather than knowing the future must be different because we now know more for we previously knew, so the future cannot be a repeat because it already is different - unless we choose it to be the same. We lose the true meaning of life and blame those external to us for what we have lost inside. We hold those outside us responsible for extinguishing the flame in our hearts when we, one by one, allowed each disappointment with life suffocate and smother the flame within our hearts.

Yet, if we look carefully, all of these reasons involve stepping out and acting freely and spontaneously in an innocent child like fashion on the feelings, images or thoughts we had as a direct result of the energy that we sensed. Then, for whatever reason, we suffered some pain and/or the thrust of our energy was thwarted. We literally or figuratively had our energy and passion “thrown back in our face.” On the dramatic side, the pain could have been we slipped and fell, or were involved in some accident injuring our body in our enthusiasm. It may have been someone striking us in some way causing our pain. For example, our care giver got angry at our actions and hit us, or our spouse or another individual similarly hits us. But there are a myriad more subtle experiences that similarly thwarted our actions. In time, we learned to thwart our creative actions ourselves. Having our energy thwarted as we thrust outward could be anything that caused us to somehow “stop in our tracks” and forced us to change the flow of that energy. It could include someone yelling at us, someone becoming displeased with us, rejection of some type and all the other types and kinds of things we experience in life that cause us to stop thrusting out in innocence.

Anything that causes us to deny the flow of our energy, meaning we do not allow ourselves to act in accordance with that flow, causes us pain as some level of our being. For many of us the pain is just below the conscious level and we feel a dissatisfaction and don’t know why. Many numb the feeling with some type of pleasure that makes them feel good. If the material or action we do can be addictive, we begin to rely on that material or actions for relief from the pain of not living our creative truth. This in one reason why It is necessary to align with our creative passion we need to do an activity that is creative and enjoyable and allows for the expansion of our being. If we do something we enjoy doing but does not allow for the expansion of our being, we may be only escaping from the pain of not living the truth of our creativity. By doing the creative actions, our consciousness begins to feel some freedom to express itself. That in turn allows our creative passion to feel safe to come out and show its true nature and it will do so in a gradual unfoldment.

No matter how we look at it, there is one reason and only one reason why an individual does not have the ability to fully live their creative passion be in a state of creative play if not the most creative state of being. Simply said, we got hurt and/or suffered pain at some level of our being when we did live our creative passion and we were quickly conditioned not to go into such feelings and actions again. We have not had a safe and secure space to freely express our creative spirit in the way in needs to be expressed.

The major issue is thwarting the free unfoldment of our creative spirit. It start very early in life. Early in life we have experiences that block or thwart the free expression of our creative spirit. We quickly develop response pattern to protect, suppress or block the free experience of who and what we are so that we do not experience repeated painful experiences. Often, and most probably guaranteed, our parents and/or early care givers have not been free to grow in an optimum way for the environment in which they were raised. As such, there are habits we copies from our parents for which we have no consciousness awareness of how we developed them. Rather we pick them up and uses them in our life not realizing where the response patterns have been learned. In this regard, there is the need to carefully study and observe as to what is really needed to create that safe and secure space.

Our early life experiences (Top)

Relative to the lose of ability to readily enter creative play, the problems start very early in life. They, in fact, begin from the moment we are born.

We arise from the source/Source of creation/Creation. As such, we come into life living in a state of being that can only be described as spontaneous and innocent childlike play of exploration and discovery of ourselves and our world. We are born from this most creative state of being and come with it. We bring it into the world. As a very young child we were free to spontaneous and innocently explore and discover ourselves and our universe. Mind had not yet developed to step in and judge what we are experiencing and/or how we move to experience it. We were free to flow with that energy and the energy was free to flow where it needs to flow based on its natural flow path.

However, in time that flow of energy is thwarted for one reason or another we were no longer free to follow that direction which arose as a result of the energy. More often than not, when the flow of energy was thwarted, we felt pain. So it was only natural that we developed response patterns to avoid the pain and/or not repeat the type and kind of experience that caused the pain.

As a young child, we learned to live according to our parents and society. However, in addition, many of us were abused as children, either spiritually, mentally, emotionally or physically. We tend to think of child abuse as only physical. But it exist at every level of being Abuse is only forcing an individual into actions and ways of being that they would otherwise choose not to do. To abuse anyone is to not respect the individual and/or not to provide what they need especially when we have the means and/or ability to do so.

As a child, when we tried to live in that innocent state of play, many of us aroused the concern if not the outright displeasure of our care givers. Some of us were forced to act by being threatened and even told we displeased God and He/She/It would judge us as evil. Some of us were conditioned much like Pavlov conditioned his dog where our care givers only allowed our needs to be met when we did what we were told. In such conditioning, we learned to judge what we were told as good and what we wanted to do as bad. Others were denied love unless they responded in a way that was acceptable. Some of us were physically hit and abused physically being forced to do what we did not want to do. All of these various types and kinds of abuse caused us to develop ways of responding in to the world in a way to protect ourselves. .

Many of these patterns we developed in early childhood we retain and use all our life. Many of them function on a subconscious level and we respond to a situation even before we are aware that we are reacting. More important, as a child, we learned to deny what we felt and knew within our being. We could feel there was a flow of energy within our being directing our life but when we were not free to follow and flow with what we knew we felt pain. As a child, we used a child’s mind and a child’s approach to protecting ourselves from that pain and the pain we experienced externally. Some of these response patterns that we developed were not the most sophisticated or wise. Many of them were very childish responses for all we knew and had was only the limited experiences of a child.

As a child, we believed what we were told and denied ourselves much to the satisfaction of others. Rather, than learning to stay with our intuitive guidance at the risk of losing those we needed in life and risk losing those who created the space for us to be nourished, we deny the flow of energy within our being and where it was naturally leading us. We gave into the demands of others for we needed their nurturing and support. After all, we were only a child learning how to live in the world.

Rather than flow with the energy as it flows from the source of our being in the direction intended by the source of our being, we learn to redirect it with the mind to meet the demands and expectations of the outer world as we come to learn and understand it. It didn’t matter whether what we learned was right or wrong, we learned what we did and that became the foundation for our response to life. We redirected the flow of energy we experience by what we chose in response to our world. In doing so, we quickly developed a response pattern to life that kept us safe, free from the pain we experience in displeasing others, and to address the way others wanted us to be. We learn to deny ourselves and we were never taught to follow the guidance within our being.

Many of us have been less than satisfied with life because of how we have been unable to live what is symbolized in our hearts and in doing want we are lead to do. We tended to feel something is missing. No body seemed to love us for ourselves in whatever way we need to be. We have to become a certain way to be loved, whether it is by our parents, our teachers, and/or society, but it is not the unique way the we were. We only experience conditional love. If we meet the conditions we receive love.

Unconditional love did not exist after a certain age if it every existed. Unconditional love gives the space to become who we are true to ourselves. It is to give what we need to grow and unfold true to ourselves. For most of us, There was no space to be who we were. We had to be somebody else. We had to become somebody else’s expectations. Many of us were told it was for our own good - a partial truth, but not the whole truth. Most of the stories we tell about our life are about the unconditional love and compassion that was missing in our life.

More important we never learned to love ourselves. Most of us lack the love and passion for ourselves as a unique creation or a unique being. Many of us shut down our heart so as to not to be violated and abused again. We decided at some level of our being, "this would not happen to me again!" so, we didn't allow ourselves to feel. We didn’t allow ourselves to feel our passion and our love of life to just be who and what we are. We did not allow ourselves to cry and process the pain that we experienced when we had to deny who were are. For many of us there was too much pain and hurt around that way of being we had to become to survive in the past

In losing the innocence of play as a child we also lost the wonderment and “ah” of life. Life become a duty and obligation. It becomes a way of being that was foreign to who and what we really are and what we desired to express. But we had to survive so we developed ways of being in the world and surviving but not allowing us to live in the play within our own being. But we have forgotten exactly how and why we made the decisions as we did. However, in doing this, we also lost our ability to feel and to access our body wisdom that has grown us from an infant into an adult.

Rather than seeing and feeling the pain that came from within our being we always saw some or something external as cause for our pain whether it was what someone was doing to our body or what our body was doing to us. We look outward for that love and compassion for that person or persons who will allow us to be who we really are and take away our pain. Now, more often than not, it is only our own defenses mechanisms the we build to survive in the world that is denying our access to that one who loves us.

We continually repeat the past and recreate the past because we don’t allow ourselves to go in and remove those early defense mechanisms we used to survive. We cannot be with and feel our own pain so we are constantly running away from it . In doing so we are running away from ourselves. We live in the separation of our own being without realize it. We long for the beloved but the beloved lies within our own being.

We are separated from our own self, our own heart. In reality it is the separation from our own being that we experience. We keep our selves busy so that we don’t have to be with ourselves. The reason for this is because if we become silent, the pain of the past is there present within us. We try and avoid that pain so we rather live in the separation of our being that be with the pain. If we continue to push away from the pain and totally separate ourselves, we being to feel the intensity of emptiness and meaningless of life that we have to deal with the pain. Eventually we are forced to deeply look at it and go into it to heal ourselves.

Until we face the pain and what is not working in our lives, we cannot create anything new. We can't give what we don't have. If we can't give to ourselves we can't give to others. If we are full of the pain of the past and conditional love, all we can give is pain and conditional love. If we can’t learn to love ourselves and sit with our own pain unconditionally, we can’t love others and sit with their pain and we cannot give to them unconditionally.

All our defenses are up and have been designed to protect ourselves. To remove those defense we have to be willing to take off the old scab that covers our wounds to see the freshness and newness of our heart. We have to deal with that past and all the pain as an adult and not as a two, three or four year old emotional child in an adult body. We have to live and let go. We have to forgive everyone and do so in realizing they did the best they could with what they were given.

In particular, we have to forgive ourselves in order to create that new space of innocent childlike play for what we wish to create and see happen in the world. We have to learn to love ourselves and our bodies. We have to learn to feel again and allow those feelings to lead us in the innocence of child like play.

It is only when we chose to go deeply into source of the intensive pain and suffering of the past that we will find that for which we long. This work is not about advocating pain and suffering. However, until we surrender and experience what we carry within our own being, forgiving everyone, in particularly ourselves, to create a new space for what we wish to create we cannot heal and create a future that is not bound to the pain and suffering of the past.

Become a creator (Top)

Creation is consciousness simply molding itself to what it chooses to experience. As a child, we did not have the awareness to know what to choose. We simply learned to respond to the expectations of the outer world the best way we knew how. As a young child we desire to create safety for ourselves in any way we could figure out how to do so. In doing so, mind has learned to step in and determines what is safe and what is not safe and when we can have freedom of movement. Mind never learned how to surrender to let the flow of energy lead. As such freedom of movement is now defined by and within the limits and boundaries of mind rather than by the flow of energy unfolding within our being. In essence, we have created a cage of our own making. A cage uniquely created by how we lost our ability to freely flow with the energy we were experiencing as a child. The challenge is to learn how to dismantle the cage we ourselves learned to build.

What needs to be understood as we attempt to create the key characteristics of creative play to create what we desire will have to face many of the reasons why we lost this ability to play as a child. No matter how old we are, we can fully expect to deal with our childhood issues that in one way or another which caused you to leave this most creative state of being. How we deal with these past experiences is our choice. But what we will find is that as we address these past experiences and release the hold they have over our ability to freely surrender to the flow of energy within our being that will manifest our desired creation, the greater our creative power and creative ability will become.

One point that needs to be emphasized about the loss of play is that more often than not we stepped out of our play to satisfy the people in our life. The people who are currently in our life are based on who we currently are and how we currently perceived ourselves. As we explore our creativity going to deep creative states of being and learn to use the creative we access, we will become different. As we become different, some of those individuals currently in our life may not like who and what we are becoming. It is recommended the following be set as an intention. Tell the Universe, “As I become different, those who do not like what I am becoming are gently guided to where they are safe and secure.” Then, trust that those who do not like what we are becoming will leave our life for some reason and those that stay, even if they complain about what is happening to us, do not ultimately oppose what we are becoming. In fact, they may be looking to us as an example of what is possible to guide them into their own creative power.

Looking a little deeper at the pain of in our play being thwarted (Top)

There are two subtle results of thwarting the innocent creative thrusts we made as a child. The first, it is the masculine part of your being becomes crippled, and second, we learn not to trust the universe - namely that feminine nurturing part of our being.

Whether we are male or female, we each have a masculine aspect and we posses the masculine thrusting nature that desires to plant its seed, its creative actions, in the world to grow and bear fruit. We also have a feminine aspect that allows us to nurture our seed and the seed of others. Thrusting our creative actions and nurturing our creative actions and the creative actions of others are completely natural to our being.

Our masculinity allows us to thrust into the unknown to create. Both men and women have that ability and it needs to be protected and developed in both men and women. Whenever our thrusting actions, namely our conscious or subconscious choice to act or flow in alignment with our creative life energy, are thwarted, a part of our masculine psyche shuts down. Without it, we stay bound and confined in the world that we know. We end up living in a cage of our own making within the limits and boundaries we use to define ourselves. To be a very “masculine” individual as the known world where they conquer and suppress is not really “masculine.” Such actions are only actions of a strong individual too scared to thrust into the unknown so they thrust into the known world using physical strength, military power or financial power. The true masculine ability is to be able to thrust into the unknown to manifest a new creation.

The other subtle result is our feminine aspect is also crippled when our actions that it becomes thwarted. The feminine aspect of our being is that nurturing and sustaining part of our being. The true feminine power it to be able to take the seed of another and nurture its growth. However, what is unrecognized is that Creation recreates Itself in Creation. Our actions and our choices individually and collectively are Creation recreating itself. As discussed in the observer - observed pair are created to have an experience of creation/Creation, we are pulled into each others lives subconsciously through the interconnectedness of all that is, to nurture the creative thrust that others make into the unknown.

Unless we look at the process of how creation arises to create an observer - observed pair, it is not obvious how we each enter the life of another to give them the experience they desire at some level of their being. Similarly, others come into our life to give us the experience we desire as some level of our being. Many who enter our life are there just to give us the experience being human. Then there are others enter our lives to give us the particular experiences we incarnated to have.

Rather than being aware of the intention we hold which create the experiences we have, we become distracted by the world and/or forget we hold certain intention and push them into our nonconscious mind. We are puzzled by what life gives us but we never play attention to our intentions and where we have focused, and are focusing, our attention and awareness. We reject what comes into our life as thought it has been imposed from the outside. Yet when we do so, we, in turn, feel the pain of rejection deep within our being for we are rejecting we what ourselves either created or something in which we agreed to participate. In feeling the rejection, we learn not to trust and not to act. In doing so, we reject the feminine aspect of our being which is nurturing our desires. In the denial of our feminine aspect, we loose trust in the nurturing and feminine aspects of Creation itself. So we learn to doubt Creation to meet our needs.

Whether we realize it or not, we create our own diseases through our dis-eases and our own pain by the way we judge ourselves, others and what life is providing us. When our defenses are up (judging ourselves and others), we experience stress and we don’t allow our creative life energy to flow in a way that can allow us to be healed and properly nurture our being.

Our defenses that keeps us the way we are arise from our mind , our judgment and the experiences we have had. The mind cannot distinguish that which comes from the external world from that in the internal world for it has no sensor of its own. With out the feeling of the body, the mind does not know where the pain is coming from. It does not necessary know if the pain is because we are physically being harmed or it is being generated from within the mind and only being expressed in the body. Since we have come to associate pain as originating in the body we always looks for external causes for the pain the body feels. We never consider looking inside ourselves for its cause. Since, we live in our physical body, it is the body that is the main vehicle or the key to access all levels of healing. Our body and what is symbolized by our hearts is the sensory organs for feelings.

In the end, whenever the actions that flow from, and in alignment with, our creative passion are thwarted from the external world or our own denials and judgements, we retard the growth of both our masculine and feminine aspects. Literally and figuratively, our creative power and creative ability and the creative aspect of our being remains suck in a very frightened and fearful immature state. This is because it was early in life in the innocence of childlike play our creative passion stepped out into the world and we developed childish defense mechanisms. We need to both literally and figuratively relearn how to play, explore and discover the universe and our own being in the spontaneous innocence of childlike play so that our creative passion can grow into its proper adult form. And, as with a child, a child does not grow instantaneously into adulthood. It will take a little time.

Two notes need to be made here on thwarting our actions that flow from alignment with our creative life energy and our creative passion. First, the experience that caused us to suffer may need to be revisited and evaluated with the perspective of an adult and not as a child. The second is whether or not we can actually remember the particular experience. Some of the experiences that shut down our freedom to be innocent and spontaneous occurred before we had a fully developed conscious mind and we many not have an accurate memory of exactly what happen and why. But we will have the feeling. We can use the feeling to guide us.

What needs to be understood, is that for any experience we have, we respond to that experience. Our responses, whatever it is, becomes a model we can use for the next similar experience. If we respond the same way each time we have a particular type and kind of experience, we develop a habit. Whenever we are faced with that experience we respond out of habit. To change a habit, we need to know what experiences caused us to fall into the habit. In this way, with becoming mindful and aware, we can become aware of how we are subconsciously choosing what we do. In becoming mindful and aware, we can change our response. We literally make our subconscious conscious to change the way we to respond to a given type and kind of experience.

One problem we face is that many of our response patterns only arise in context. It is here ritual and metatheater can be helpful. We can create certain types and kinds of situations and we can then see how we response to them. How we respond will show us if we have patterns of the past that do not serve us or serve us in a way that is not necessarily appropriate for the types and kinds of situations we face.

If we don’t believe the process we can do a simple experience. We only need to learn a series of simple tasks in a given order. Then change one of the tasks in the sequence. See how long it takes us to stop trying to do the task the old way and incorporate the new way. Then leave it. Come back at a later time and try the series of tasks again and see which way we do then. Some remember to do it the new way but quite frequently we find ourselves doing it the old way when the old way no longer applies. Many of us feel puzzled because we know we had the new way firmly established in our mind - or we thought so. However, if we can remember and recognize the actual circumstances where we learned a particular set of habits there is the possibility you can go back to effectively change all that needs to be changed. Sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t.

For most of us, the experiences and the reasons why we do not act on our creative passion go back to our earliest days of life and how we adapted to living in the world in which we found ourselves. For others, we lost it later in life but the circumstances are really not that much different that childhood. The only difference is that, as an adult, it is an adult experiences that must be faced as opposed to childhood or childlike experiences to regain our creative passion. Adult experiences always seem to have additional complicating factors if only because more of our adult decisions are not innocent decision but couched and biased by many influences and tradeoffs. Sometimes we need to address the tradeoffs to address the response pattern.

Adult experiences that cause us to deny our creative passion are sometimes more difficult to address. This is because our actions in these situation are frequently based on consciously acting in a way we think and/or feel will provide the necessary precautions to protect ourselves. Or we acted within the bounds and expectations of the external world and we thought those bounds would protect us. Yet we still experienced the pain of set back. So we become puzzled and even more hesitant to act. However, if we looks carefully, we will find our adult experiences were only a continuation of decision patterns we developed in the past to survive and we never really learned how to survive while being in our creative passion.

Although there are many life events that we allow to rob us of our creative ability, many of the most dominating patterns go back to who we learned to be in the world when we were children. We continue those patterns though out our lifetime and, in some cases, across lifetimes. More importantly, and as already stated, many of these patterns developed in childhood were developed before we became consciously aware of what was happening. Much of the programming was done subconsciously. The memories may not be easily retrievable in our consciousness to understand why we think the way we do. Adult experiences are easier to pin point as to the actual circumstances of where we lost some of our creative passion because we have a greater conscious awareness of what we are experiencing.

In closing this discussion on how we lose our ability to creatively play, it is appropriate to prove an example of how we lose innocence and how quickly how quickly we can develop a thinking process as a child. Here is one relayed to the author. It goes as follows: “I remember that about the age of seven as I stood on a porch, I accidently dropped a stick on the head of a neighbor’s child. The child was about five years old. They happened to be of a different religion. He went home crying. I distinctly remember thinking, ‘Oh, its okay, his is a ______(a different religion than mine).’ To this day I often wonder exactly where I learned that way of thinking at that early age such that it was okay to actually hurt someone of a different religion. My parents did not think that way. Although my parents were taught and told in church to believe one religion was better than another, their hearts were too big to knowingly hurt someone of a different religion. At age seven I was not even aware of the implications of my rationalization. In later years as I remembered the event I felt an uncomfortableness in myself knowing that I dismissed the pain I caused in another in the way I dismissed it. I knew as an adult, I carried some obscure programming that would allowed me to hurt others who were not of my tribe - however I defined my tribe. It made serving in the military quite easy for me and it took years before I was able to drop blind tribal and family loyalties and the associated thinking patterns. But I know many probably still exist and they will not reveal themselves except in context.”

Related topics
Understanding the impacts of loss of creative play

The need to play - a playful creative spirit

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