Your real work is play.*
But reason falls in love with itself, and worse. It falls in love with its own productions. It elevates them, and worships then as absolutes. […] The totalitarian says, in essence, “You must rely on faith in what your already know.” But this is not what saves. What saves is the willingness to learn from what you don’t know.**
As we got to the end of the book launch for Daphne Loads‘ Rich Pickings,^ there was a Q&A time. I found myself wondering about switching this around, being playful with an A&Q session: the audience coming up with answers for us, and Daphne and myself responding with a question.
Then the question came from my friend Glen in the audience. Had I ever tried doodling with my other hand?
I sensed a challenge.
I hadn’t. I usually encourage people to go with their strengths and to develop these, to see their other “hand” as supporting their preferred “hand.”
But what if Glen were offering me an answer and I had to pose a question in response?
It is critical to look beyond the familiar and the preferred:
See ever so far … there is limitless space outside of that,
Count ever so much … there is limitless time around that.^^
To be most playful, we need to encourage our lives to have borders rather than boundaries.
Boundary-dwellers focus life at the centre, the boundary is out there, not to be crossed.
Border-dwellers explore where their lives touch others and the Other:
To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous. […] On the contrary, when we are playful to each other we relate as free persons and the relationship is open to surprise.*^
I include these words from James Carse because the surprise he anticipates is not only surprise in the other but also surprise at ourselves.
The border-dweller doesn’t wait for a border to appear but knows they can create one whenever they need to:
If you’re struggling to make a transition, create a defining moment that draws a dividing line between the Old You and the New You.^*
If this is all an answer, what’s your question?
Thank you to Daphne and Glen for encouraging the left-handed doodle from a right-handed doodler.
(*From Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)
(**From Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life.)
(^See Daphne Loads’ Rich Pickings. Daphne asked me to illustrate her wonderful book about different ways to be playful with text – a fun experience in itself.)
(^^From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)
(*^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(^*From Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments.)