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Permission and Play

Do you give your self enough permission?

Last week I spoke with choreographer and filmmaker Marta Renzi. She has been making dance and dance films for over three decades. She cares deeply about our individual human experience and how we relate to each other as interconnected beings.

That is why her films, in addition to having professional dancers in them, also have everyday folks like you and me.

Her backdrop is rarely a stage.

She is known for, and has won awards for, her commitment to exploring the everyday performance of life as a dance. Her backdrop is a street corner, a forest, a home or room. She works in places imbued with meaning that are deeply personal and also universal.

Growing up Marta learned the value of unstructured play and improvisation. Her early training in playful movement taught her how to pay attention to signs that she was trying to hard. Taking the fun out of her work. She has learned to stop PUSHING when the round peg won't conform to a square hole. This means she knows when to cut the bullshit. When something is no longer joyful, she gives herself permission to let that thing flop, to fail, to let it go.

No wonder play and joy are the two things that matter most to her in art making.

Let's break it down. If play and joy were what mattered most to you FOR ONE WHOLE WEEK, what permission would you need to let yourself fail at whatever you were playing at?

Can you give yourself permission to play?

Play is vital for learning and also for our emergence into fully expressed and connected humans. Fun fact:Play and emergence are on the same circuit in the human brain Play and Emergence are creative's bedfellow, hogging the covers right next to curiosity.

So many of us struggle to play. We judge it. We control it. We abandon it. Think about it. When is the last time you played without minding the result? As we age, we may have an opportunity to liberate play from the shackles of our old fears. Marta talks about embracing the outlier, the archetype of the old wise crone. The goofball. The woman of a certain age who no longer gives a f*ck what other people will say when, as Marta as done, dance in the supermarket between the electric doors with her son and her granddaughter. When we don't care what we look like, or sound like or if we'll embarrass our children, what (and who) emerges? Imagine what fun we'll have. Imagine what we can discover of our own boundless joy? Let's not wait until crone-hood to play like that though. What is something you can play at and be willing to look the fool, to fail, to expand your repertoire of human movement?

When we give ourselves permission to play, we bring brand new things into being. We grow.

Isn't the real risk then, not to play.

As Marta said in our recent interview "I think failing is a good word related to play, because in real play, failure doesn’t matter at all."

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