Day 28 and this marks the end of our fourth week of playing. Can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday that I was introducing you to the nine types and beginning our adventure together. How were you able to NOURISH your play yesterday in honor of your unique signature? How big of a bite did you take?
Today I woke up and that was completely derailed. I overslept, was late to a meeting, and had things going on basically until lunchtime. At that point I couldn't think about growing any sort of ideas until I NOURISHED my physical body. After a quick lunch, I noticed a break in the sheets of rain mist that have been covering Boston this morning and I went out to nourish my antsy and annoyed Kinesthete who has been spending the morning fantasizing about covering my living room walls with rock climbing holds and crash pads because man i just want to climb a wall today.
My walk helped me turn off my thinking brain and I was quickly sucked into an amazing new song that came up on my Spotify. This triggered a remembrance: I set up a whole new area in my bedroom to NOURISH more playful reading and ukulele bass playing a few days ago... but I haven't picked up my bass or a book since making it. And right about then is when I was conscious of the grooviest bass line in this song, just calling me towards this line of thinking. I was just itching to get home and settle into pre-prepped play nook for the rest of my break to NOURISH this piece of my play type that I have been neglecting for awhile. I'll drop my instagram story below for anyone who wants to watch me pluck away at my u-bass... sitting here as a living example of what I was talking about yesterday re: believing you are not good at one type of playing, just because someone once told you that. And so I have been avoiding it. But.. no longer!
You see, at one point in time playing instruments was my absolute hands down favorite way to stress relieve and have fun after school. I was so inspired by the sounds of my high school jazz band that I figured out how to get a babysitting job, so that I could buy myself an electric bass, pay for lessons, audition for the jazz band, and claim that sound for my own. This is probably one of my first memories of a "play-venture" where I allowed my play to pick up these small ideas that grow into long (time) distance goals just for the fun of it, and see what happens. How close could I get? Well let me tell you I got close!! Right up until someone decided that they would point out that "there's no way you'll ever be as good as so and so although like, you're still good!" Man oh man did this create a blockage in my playing - right up through today. A series of remarks measuring my play against someone elses' had the consequence of unknowingly changed my relationship with a favorite play tool, and before I knew it it had been 8 years since I had picked up my bass. It was lost and buried in my consciousness right up until the time I started working on my graduate thesis about Play. And now fast forward to today, and here I am with MUSIC as our prompt for Day 28.
Tuning In and Turning Off
Even when I had lost touch with a favorite play tool, I was still very much in touch with MUSIC in other ways: live music experiences locally and all over the country. There is something so alive and breathing about a live music venue, with everyone fully zoned in on the band playing. Something transformative happens in my brain and I find myself slipping in and out of these meditative spaces, fully guided by the music. This is the same place I was accessing when playing an instrument, but found through my observer play type instead of my artist-creator. But I have to admit, my artist creator sees this happening and likes to jump in to air-play the bass. This is the transformative space where I keep tuning in to my want to play an instrument, and can turn off the negative associations I have with it by way of pure ecstatic embrace of a moment. It was by doing this that I found the idea that inspired me to pick up playing again. I nourished this idea by going to pick out an acoustic bass that year for my birthday, stumbling into my little Uke Bass in the process.
I love to play this little instrument. Its one of the most powerful places for me to turn off my thinking mind and really tune in to the MUSIC of a moment. I really find that when I am playing with music, the less I think about it the more I am able to fully immerse and intuit the movements and melodies that want to flow. It's when I start self-critiquing the sounds I am hearing that I stumble. You can literally hear my hesitation in my playing. It's a super vulnerable, but incredibly rewarding space for me. The trick is that I really have to put conscious effort in to nourishing this play tool because of that lingering thought in my brain that "I'm not very good at this." This is where MUSIC itself is powerful enough to sweep me off of that negative thought train and fully immerse me in play. Rewriting this neural network in the process and defining it on my own terms.
"Music begins where possibilities of language end" Jean Sibelius
This is also one of my favorite prompts to nest with all of the play types. This is one that helps me expand my definition of what play types I contain, and would be a great one to play around with a play type you. are less familiar with. Here are some ideas:
Joker- look up comedy / satire singers. Weird Al! Jack Black!
Explorer- check out Spotify, Soundcloud, or Sound Map
Artist-Creator - who are your favorite musicians? they are all artist-creator play types!
Collector - build a playlist, collect songs along your favorite aesthetic
Director - compose some music, direct made up instruments, make dance choreography
Kinesthete- dancing! how does different music make you want to move?
Storyteller - song lyrics, musicals, how can non-lyrical sounds convey stories?
Competitor- music competition tv shows, karaoke
Observer - watching any of the above things!
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." Plato
MUSIC is a medium that can help you find your unique expression and tastes. It can inspire you to play, and create a supportive environment for your to play within. MUSIC has the power to single handedly transport you away from a bad mood, stresses, and overwhelming feelings and bring you to a place of joy if only for a few minutes. Music is one of the things that I think is most central to humanness, enabling an expanded mode of expression that transcends words.
I could honestly go on about MUSIC all night, but rather than try to use words I think I will leave you to tune in to it however you will. Keep in mind, you are free to interpret this prompt in any direction you feel called! If MUSIC isn't your thing, think along the lines of vibration, tone, or melody. The overall goal here is to turn off that thinking brain and tune in to the MUSIC of the moment - and your ears are the only one who can hear that sweet song.
If you want to read more about how MUSIC impacts the brain and emotional processing, I enjoyed this article and will be letting my explorer gather some more info here to nerd out on!