Grandma Moses started painting when she was 78.
Harry Bernstein achieved fame as an author at 96. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at 50. Viola Davis gained fame as an actress in her 40s. Colonel Sanders began Kentucky Fried Chicken at 65. As for me? I’m 73 and continue to discover new layers of talent, creativity, lightness, and joy.
Have I always enjoyed a light spirit? No! Life wasn’t fun when I was a kid. I knew I was loved, but I also felt invisible, voiceless, overwhelmed by senseless rules, and tormented by school bullying. My childhood could have been a disaster if I hadn’t accessed my imagination. I visualized myself as a world-famous actress, singer, and writer, spending endless nights making up plays and stories.
My imagination was a secret place within me that no one could destroy. This is the case for so many children—whether they have an idyllic or less-than-perfect life, each child has the capacity to dream deeply and create whole new worlds. It is this kind of dreaming that can change everything, breaking the barriers of the regular “outside” world.
I’ve spent a lot of time around beautiful and inventive young minds. After realizing that music was the key to my happiness, I became an early childhood, music, movement, and imagination teacher. The gift of being surrounded by children’s laughter, silliness, and wide-eyed curiosity transformed me, and I apply their magical “secrets” every day.
I’m now an intuitive life coach and creativity specialist, and I often meet adults who don’t think they have a playful or creative bone in their body. They never knew it was healthy to daydream, or they gave up their dreams along the way. What I’ve found is that it’s never too early or too late to discover what gives your spirit delight, and it is my passion to encourage everyone to honor their inner “heart-dreamer.”
To do this, activate your right brain. The right brain is imaginative, intuitive, creative, free, and filled with never-ending ideas.
The following activities will stimulate your right brain and encourage your creative spirit to evolve without any fear of “right, wrong, or perfect”:
Explore how many ways to say, “Excuse me, where is the closest bathroom?”
Be dramatic. Say it casually. Say it with intensity. As you invent each version, use nonverbal gestures and ham it up. Now, try to do it with an accent. This exercise gets you to feel loose and silly.
Have you ever heard of a nonsense language called “gibberish?” Babies and toddlers speak gibberish fluently. Although gibberish is an invented language with no rules, grammar, spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure, it sounds like something amazing anyway. Invent your own version of gibberish, and let this new language simply roll off your tongue.
Find a friend to play with you.
Find a friend who is willing to speak gibberish with you. While you are “conversing” together, remember to use wild, nonverbal gestures. It’s the delicious frosting on your creative upside-down cake. When you speak gibberish in public, people often think you’re speaking a foreign language, your creative flow opens, tears roll down your face with laughter, and sometimes you understand each other better than usual! Need more laughter? Fly kites together. Worries fade, you’re in the moment, and you both rediscover the kid in you again.
Reinvent an old recipe or an old activity.
How many ways can you reinvent an old recipe? Like baking, adult life is full of instructions. What if you simply do away with them? Without worrying about how it will taste, add at least two new ingredients. Who knows? Your new recipe may taste even better than the old one. Apply this inventing technique to as many habits as possible. How many ways can you clap your hands? And another way? And another way?
A Toddler’s Secret.
Channel your inner toddler. They don’t need to know the answers to life ahead of time. Their minds are wide open and free. Reclaim their qualities of openness, delight, and a giant yes to life.
What did you enjoy doing as a child that may hold clues for creative projects? Write your visions down, and as you daydream, blow bubbles, play the kazoo, dance, doodle, take nature walks, and surround yourself with positive people.
Let go of perfection.
Is there a creative work stirring somewhere inside your spirit, but you’re worried about doing it “wrong?” To let go of the perfection syndrome, sing “Row your Boat” purposefully out of tune three times. It will shoo away your inner critic and allow you to simply enjoy your lighter side.
It is your birthright to dream. In fact, you can create quite a revolution with that creative spirit of yours. Fame and fortune may call you, and when it happens, I’ll be standing in a long line waiting eagerly to get your autograph. I hope you’ll notice me. I’m the one with the mismatched socks, silly hat, expressive clothes, creative earrings, an open heart, a cheering-for-you attitude, and a never-ending twinkle in her eyes. Here’s to childlike curiosity, silliness, creativity, imagination, and dreams!