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Running around loose noticing things
Aka Montessori time for grownups
Last Friday I wrote a newsletter about remembering to notice things as a way to cope with the stress of being “too busy”. The ability to notice is also prerequisite to a creativity as self-care technique which I call “Running Around Loose" aka a Montessori style unstructured playtime time for grownups. *
[*It's a commentary on the current cultural moment here in the US that I feel the need to write this bracketed comment: we all deserve to be safe from violence in our daily lives. I realize it is easier for me to do a running around loose playtime exercise because I currently live in a more urban, more LGBTQ friendly, more Deaf friendly, more female friendly geographic area of the US. Even so I still try to preselect playgrounds that will be more likely to be safe for me and my wife. Please feel free to adjust this exercise to your own circumstances.]
On my first effort, while still at home, to flex my noticing-things-muscle I saw it was raining outside. Which reminded me of the phrase “raining cats and dogs”. So I drew an interpretation using my fountain pens in one of my larger sketchbooks. This is a practice of play inspired by something I saw (rain).
Then, over the day, I noticed a whole bunch of things around the house and made a visual list of them. This list too is a warm up exercise for the upcoming running around loose playtime.
In my studio I'm working on a painting and I thought you might like to have a quick look over my shoulder before I let it dry while my wife and I run around loose…
Here's a look at a larger view of studio, paint palettes and all with the in progress painting on my easel.
Here's a closer look… I'm thinking I'll title it “The Elephant In The Room”.
I have more to do on this painting but it needs to dry and I noticed that the sun just showed itself through the window ….
So now we'll go run around loose in the adapted Montessori style sense of unstructured playtime. The Montessori teaching method for children emphasizes, to name a few things, using the 5 senses, life practicalities, cultural learning and cooperation with others, structured and unstructured play … etc. Where I adapt this into a creativity as self-care technique is in the playful adjustment of how I look at and notice things in the world.
Here's how we grownups play:
Leave the house with no itinerary, no timetable, no plans [*except for selecting safe places*] no adulting attitudes of gotta-do-X allowed, instead of a specified activity we explore aimlessly according to whatever we notice in the moment that looks interesting. Turn off the phone (put it out of sight). Look around pretending we've never seen this place before. Get curious. Read the signs, look at the labels, ask the questions. Look more closely at everything that catches your eye. Notice whatever you notice. Notice what your companion notices. Try stuff your companion notices/tries. Notice and try things without adding instant declarative judgements (perhaps discuss preferences later but while in the moment give it an open consideration). Try lots of new things. Use your 5 senses. Eat at the eatery that attracts your nose/appetite. Walk a lot. Go slow. Stop and look. Talk to people and pet the dogs - if possible - or just talk and listen to your companion in that rambling meandering leisurely way that children talk with each other. Notice things. Notice yourself noticing.
Have fun!! [Please see the *notes above about preselecting safe places.]
P.S. I'll share my finished elephant painting in Substack Notes and on my blog www.sueclancy.com
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