Creativity for the Rest of Us

Play Time

I’m a sucker for flash mobs. The (seemingly) spontaneous eruption of creativity, imagination, community and generosity get me every time.  When I watch one of these I often weep with joy.  Granted, some of them are staged marketing events but that doesn’t matter.  I love the way it makes me feel.



What I love is watching people of all ages, colors, aptitude and backgrounds perform some whimsical activity together in public.  Often they don’t know each other (unlike the Copenhagen Philharmonic). It’s not just the performance that touches me. It’s that the performers are playing full out for the joy of having fun. Their agenda?  To surprise and delight the audience.  Crowds gather, strangers and families stop and enjoy a moment of pause from their routine.

On the flip side is the story of Joshua Bell –world renowned violinist –who performed in a Washington DC subway station for 45 minutes during the morning commute and was barely noticed.



There are some thoughts/questions here worth pondering.  We’re  accustomed to seeing solo musicians performing in public places so perhaps we don’t pay them as much attention.  Flash mobs take us by surprise.  The very idea of an orchestra playing in the middle of a train station disrupts our expectations and expands our perception.

What does it take these days to get our attention?  To shift our perspective away from what we expect to see and  notice something we weren’t looking for?  I wonder how much we’re missing when it takes a big production number for us to take notice.  What subtle and elegant acts of beauty and connection are lost in our rush to stay focused, on task — eager to cross off the next item on our to-do list or get to that budget meeting on time? How open are we to being caught off guard, to be delighted, inspired, or challenged?

How much of my life is spent playing with others? Messing around, goofing up, doing the best you can with what ya got without striving for perfection.  Stretching ourselves, enjoying the process, learning with and encouraging each other.  No scoreboard in sight; the only goal is having fun and playing together.

So go do something silly.  Have some fun.  Play something new and feel like a beginner.  An added bonus if you can engage with new people along the way.


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