When I was a growing up, I painted and drew regularly because it made me feel grounded, whole, and content. It was an expressive outlet I always valued and prioritized without much thought or effort. Essentially, I created and remembered to create art because it nourished my soul. To me, it was an invaluable form of meditation that I could immerse myself in for hours on end.
I was very fortunate to go on to study at the Cooper Union School of Art. Throughout the rigorous time there, my skills improved and the breadth of my abilities broadened. In time, and for a wide array of reasons I won’t elaborate upon here, I discovered and fell in love with documentary photography. While I’m so grateful this eventually became my focus and an amazing discipline that inspired me to travel throughout the world, my pursuit of other fine arts waned.
Recently, I decided to start drawing and painting again. Though there was initial hesitation to put the brush to the page, returning has felt like coming home with fresh appreciation of my surroundings. For the first time in at least a decade, I’m creating just to create—not to be critiqued, show off my work, compete, or generate income. I’m creating just because it feels correct and connects me with myself. I feel I’m reclaiming that beautiful processing ground my wisdom led me to so freely way back when.
When we are children, there are a number of ways our innate wisdom shines through. As children, we often marvel at small wonders, love to get our hands dirty, can sometimes exercise exceptional presence and singular focus, let our imaginations roam, have less thought about our vulnerability, and can be brutally honest. Likewise, almost every child I’ve ever known understands the value of play and will do just about anything to preserve that precious time.
This week, I invite you to reclaim something you used to hold as invaluable and freeing. Maybe it’s singing, biking, hiking, sketching out elaborate fashion designs, hitting up the wood shop, making sand castles, collecting snails (and kindly putting them back), sewing, drawing, you name it. Let yourself play for your heart’s sake.