Big Ideas + Other Cool Stuff Ruth Folit's
Big Idea #1: Play Mindset
Play is a critical piece of life—even as an adult, but many of us seem to lose that ability to play. It’s an antidote to stress and worry. Your mind can go on a small vacation, yet still be active and alive.
You can play with language; you can play with abstract ideas; you can play with concrete ideas; you can build theoretical models; you can imagine interactions with people; you can imagine conversation with people or parts of your body.
Journaling, if you let it, fosters play.
Six different kinds of play (Stewart Brown):
1.) Body Play.
2.) Obeject Play.
3.) Social Play.
4.) Rough and Tumble Play.
5.) Spectator Play
6.) Imaginative/ Fantasy Play
There’s evidence that play beefs up the brain: stimulates memory, brain growth, improved language, and creative problem solving.
Techniques for getting into a play mindset:
1.) Clustering- Write the topic that you are exploring in the center of a sheet of paper and circle it. Then from that central idea, create spokes or arms radiating out from it with thoughts or ideas that you associate with that word
2.) Using your non-dominant hand to get to the other side of your brain: Using a pen, pencil, markers, whatever, and, using your non-dominant hand, scribble, draw, doodle or make marks on a piece of paper.
3.) Typing with eyes closed in a bit of a trance.
4.) Writing in the middle of the night, when you have awoken—with anxiety
and worry about something.
Big Idea #2: Anxiety
“Anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face – and yet few even realize it.”—Eric Maisel
Techniques to overcome your reluctance to write:
- Deep breathing.
- Cognitive work.
- Encanting—from the realm of magic. Makes use of deep breathing and the cognitive work.
- Creating affirmation.
- Physical relaxation.
- Acupressure points.
- Producing calming images in your mind.
- Disengaging or detaching.
- Creating an environment of calmness.
- Conscious attitude change.
“Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.”— Soren Kierkegaard
Big Idea #3: Inner Voice
Everyone has an inner critic—if not a whole chorus of them.
How we think about ourselves—our characteristics; our looks; our abilities; our skills; our state of mind; our emotions; our relationships; our financial situation; our health; our future; our past—all has a huge impact on our lives.
Your inner conversations allow you to grow and try new things or
scribes an invisible but confining boundary about who you are and what you can do.
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.” - Henry Ford
One technique you can use to contact your inner voice is to close your eyes and count backwards from 50. As you count you'll be surprised that you brain is spinning out thoughts and conversations. Start writing what you hear.
- Don't overlook the neutral comments "I'm so tired." or "I'm very busy."
- Write what/where the situation was when you heard the inner conversation.
- If you can, try to identify who is talking at different times: Is it your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, a teacher, the clergy, a grandparent, a spouse, a mentor, a friend?
Do you like what you are telling yourself? Are your inner dialogues moving you along in a direction that you want to go, encouraging you compassionately and realistically?
Wrong Mind vs. Right Mind Statements:
Wrong Mind: “I have nothing to say.”
Right Mind: “If I write truthfully and carefully, it my turn out that I have something to say.”
Wrong Mind: “I never seem to have ideas. I must be a dull, unimaginative
Right Mind: “Of course I have ideas.”
Wrong Mind: “I am much stupider than I like to admit. Therefore I can only write stupid things.”
Right Mind: “Sometimes I write beautifully and brilliantly. Then it must be true that beautiful and brilliant things are inside of me.”
Here are some thoughts about working with the Internal Critic:
- Acknowledge that everyone has Internal Critics of some kind. Get to know yours.
- Recognize that Internal Critics have both beneficial and damaging qualities.
- Discriminate when it's a good time to listen to your critics and when to dismiss them.
- Stay committed to staying in control of your Internal Critics.
Do a play history of yourself:
What is your first memory of yourself engaged in play? Doing what? Where? Alone or with a friend? What was your favorite form of play as a kid? What did your family believe about play? Was it good? Were you encouraged to play? Discouraged to play? Did you have structured play activities or were they open-ended? Did you like to play? Were you free to play freely? How did you feel about your own play abilities? Was play competitive in your life? What role does play play in your life now? If not, when do you think play slipped away?
Write a “Ruth Gendler” description of a quality that you’ve
experienced recently. You might start with the quality of Playfulness
and perhaps go back to other
Try each of those right brain techniques:
2. Use your non-dominant hand—to get to the other side of your brain.
3. Typing with eyes closed in a bit of a trance. You might want to try it
once you are in right brain mode, or getting close to that open-ended
4. Writing in the middle of the night, when you have awoken. Don’t wake
up special for this, of course.
5. You might even get the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
by Betty Edwards, to experience more deeply working within the right
side of the brain.
6. Dialog technique:
It’s a form of play, pretend, role-playing.
Dialogs. Dialogs are imaginary conversations between two or more
characters. The characters can be anything or anyone, such as:
- Persons (living, dead, or imaginary)
- Parts of the body
- Issues that you are dealing with (e.g. to move or not to move; to go
- Back to school or stay in your present career)
- Events, situations, decisions, or circumstances (of the past, present or future)
- Dream images
In your journal write the conversation between the two (or more) characters,
similar to the style of writing a play with character name and colon and then what the character said.
Listen to your Inner Critics. Write down what they are saying. If you
can, identify their voices. Learn as much about who they are and
when they appear.
Come up with strategies to tame your the Inner Critic, including
changing what the critics say from “wrong mind” to “right mind.” Learn
to ignore the noise of the Inner Critics when appropriate, learn to
confront the cruelties of the Inner Critic, when that the right thing to do.
Try different anxiety reducing techniques when you feel reluctant to write. See which ones work for you best.