After a long hot, dry spell last summer, rain came. I live in the high desert of western Colorado, so any rain is cause for celebration, but this time it was especially welcome. We’d come to expect the infamous “oppressive” heat day after day, and gray skies, cool temperatures and pouring rain made us feel like we had been set free.
When they heard the wet drumbeat on the roof, my son and his friend dashed outside. I squelched the urge to call after them about not coming back inside in their wet clothes and sitting on the couch, or making the floor slippery, or whatever other horror a couple of drenched little boys could produce.
My husband and I watched them out the window as they jumped in puddles and floated sticks in the small river forming on the edge of the road.
“We’re not going to let them do that all by themselves, are we?” he asked.
“No, we’re not,” I said, and soon the whole family was dancing in the street, soaking wet and fully dressed.
For a while, I had stopped doing stuff like that.
If Creativity were a superhero, its nemesis would be Inhibition.
It occurred to me that perhaps being uninhibited could be practiced.
When I sat down to do creative work, I hoped something brilliant and original would flow out of me. Then I would start to work and feel wrapped up like a mummy. My body would get tight, and Inhibition moved in.
Could this be at least partly because I allowed my normal state to be uptight? Maybe my self-expression muscle was simply out of shape.
What if I purposely set out to do uninhibited things every day? The regular practice of things like singing, dancing, splashing, jumping and just being silly might help me produce a more uninhibited state on demand.
As I’d continually added responsibilities to my life (read: job, home ownership, parenthood, eldercare), I’d become more and more serious and inhibited. My joyful and creative self was locked up most of the time, and when I tried to release it, it often shrank in the corner, asking, “Are you sure it’s okay to come out?”
What do you think? What do you see as the connection between inhibition when doing creative work and being uptight in the rest of your life? Do you think being uninhibited can be developed through practice?