How does an art break help you remember how to play?
How does an art break help you remember how to play?
Transcript for the Take an Art Break Podcast Episode
Okay. Oh, hey, we’re here.
It’s Lisa and Lauren. I’m actually in Northwest Arkansas, the home of crystal Bridges, which is an amazing community art museum for all for the masses. So I’m excited to be here.
Awesome. I’m just looking so that if anybody pops in and leaves us a comment, I’m gonna be able to see it. So I’m trying to figure out how to do that.
Takes a, takes a minute, but I might just dive in to that. Here we go. So I I’m a parent of three in case anyone has forgotten that. I know I’ve mentioned that a couple of times. And I am currently reading this book called the Yes Brain, which I will link to when we’re, you know, done with this conversation. And during chapter two, it talks about the balanced Yes. Brain. So it defines the yes brain, and it’s basically about cultivating kids who have you know, curiosity and resilience and all the things that we’re hoping as parents to help our children with. And and chapter two, they talk about a balanced brain. And what they’re really talking about is having a balanced schedule for your child so that their brain can have time to process lots of stuff, the things they’re learning and the emotions they’re feeling, and things like that.
And so, in the middle of the chapter they started talking about one of the important aspects of a balanced brain, which is they call free play. And free play is when a child is allowed to sort of wander and be curious and use their imagination without any sort of fear of judgment or threat. And the reason they mention that is they talk about structured play, which is like when you’re playing a sport and there are rules and there are winners and losers, and not that those are bad things to do, those are good things for your child to do. That’s also part of a good schedule. But the free play is unstructured. So there’s no, there’s no end that you’re trying to get to. There’s no real, like, it’s all about the journey. Okay. So when I heard this, I was like, I stopped and I, I was like, Lisa, we gotta talk about this because I feel like this is exactly what we are trying to do for adults.
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> because it’s, it’s really easy to get a kid, most kids to take an art break. It’s difficult to get adults to take an art break. And I thought, well, you know, it’s play is such an important aspect for a child. Why can’t it be an important aspect for an adult? And, and we know Lisa and I know that it is an important aspect for an adult. And so maybe we could talk about sort of that today. And so the, the question I came up with after reading this chapter and chatting with Lisa about it a little bit is how does an heartbreak, the heartbreak that we are talking about at artist moving help you remember how to play? So let’s talk about that.
Okay. That’s a great question. I wanna, I I, cuz this is so fascinating because I, I love that. I know that things that we read are kind of like you read and you’re like, oh my God, this is about artist moving, this is about our mission, this is about, everybody should take an art break. And I love that we’re kind of like always on our radars are always open to knowing that we wanna explain to everybody that taking an art break is really key for your wellbeing. So what I looked up, I looked up some articles and there’s tons of science on how play is necessary for adults and obviously necessary for kids, but equally for adults. But it said that the benefits are for playing, is it de-stresses, which we all need. It releases endorphins, it improves brain functionality and actually helps you grow your cortex, your cerebral cortex. If you think about that, I think a lot of times we think when we get older, we, our brains don’t grow anymore. Do you know what I mean? And that’s part of that maybe that play shutting down and it also stimulates crea creativity. But the state of being that play is, it’s a sense of lightness and freedom.
So right. So it’s if, okay, so you and I know that play is important and we have all of these art breaks, right? We’re, we’re in the midst of sending out daily art breaks for people. We send out monthly art breaks with postcards, we have heartbreak celebrations. How do those art breaks that we’re sort of prescribing, let’s say, or suggest suggesting or prompting, how do those help do you think sort of the adult population remember how to play
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>? Well, I think we, we always say that we have to come at it with the no judgment, right? Taking an eight outbreak is about no judgment. And then also intentionality. Like, you know I think those are the two key. And giving your, I mean, we talk about this too many times, giving yourself permission to be, to be that inner child again or to be that child. I think at a certain age we all get so serious about life,
You know? Yeah. I was, I was thinking about the, cuz you, you know, when we were defining an heartbreak and you, you cons, you said to me, the intention has to be there mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I was, I really thought about that and I thought, well, well, like why? You know, why does the intention have to be there? And I think that that’s really important for the adult population. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I think it comes naturally to children to wander and explore. And as we age and we sort of get sucked into this idea of what it means to be an adult, we, we lose or we can, can have a tendency to lose that sense of wander and curiosity and the not knowing and sort of being comfortable with the not knowing and the exploring. And so as an adult you have to intentionally sort of seek it out. Yeah.
I mean, you have to set time in your day to do it. Right. Right.
Which I think is so funny because we were just talking about, I was laughing cuz I was thinking about that like, we’re telling people to schedule un unstructured
Play and how does that make sense? And I think that it’s because you’re an adult and you have to put that intention behind it. And the, the, the way I think an heartbreak, you know, helps you remember how to play. Is that it it does, it gives you that we constantly hear, when we ask people what does art mean to you? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, it means freedom. I think it is one of those, art is one of those last things that exist where you truly can feel free, but you have to let yourself go. Yeah. and I think that’s the difficult part about it when you are talking about adults taking an heartbreak and remembering that like, play seems like it might be scary for adults and that it, that, when you get to that point Hmm. It’s not, it’s, it’s freeing. Right. But I, you know, and so like, I think our art, I think our art breaks can help you remember mm-hmm. <Affirmative>
How important play is because you can s kind of slowly get back there if you’re kind of scared of it, if you’re scared of the, of the not knowing, right. I mean, we grow up in a society that’s like, you have to know the answers or you are wrong. Right. Or you are not smart or you are not. And so like diving deep into this, into a space of not knowing mm-hmm. <Affirmative> can be scary. Yeah. Right. Yeah. But I feel like we offer heartbreaks that can, like you, you can like dip your toe in.
Yeah. You know, I think I agree with you and I think it’s also, it’s interesting, I think I’m reflecting on like how these words like play, it gets kind of like, oh, that’s for children or art, especially our heartbreak art tables. Oh, that’s for children or our free art packets and we’re kind of always going, no, this is really for, you know, it’s really, we’re actually really shooting for the adults. Yeah. Of course we love for children to have the ability to just, you know, work their magic. But I think it’s interesting in like, why, why do we at a certain age think play is, it becomes like a, it becomes in a box, right? Yeah. Art becomes in a box or whatever you think. And I think what we’re suggesting is, or we know that when you, the our our our definition of taking our break is actually pure liberation.
You just take a piece of paper, just scribble, just draw and then check out how you’re feeling. Or you take a walk in the woods and you notice all the colors. I mean, it, we want you to tap into that imaginative play zone that we all have. I mean, you know, if you think I always think about how creative what was Albert, Albert Einstein said something about intuition and creativity is really the journey that we all should be going on. Not the linear <laugh>, you know, A to B, A to C. Right. I think that was, that’s how he discovered all those amazing things in science because he was u really using imagination in play to get to these answers of the mysteries.
Well, yeah. Well I was talking, so I was talking to my husband about how discoveries are made in science, right? Yeah. And he was saying that he feels like there’s sort of three ways of doing it. There’s the like research, like, you know what, you know, and you dive deep into what you know mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. Yeah. And you just can’t keep diving deep into what you know. Yeah. And sometimes discoveries are made that way, and the other discovery is made by accident. The spontaneous discovery, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But then the place where most discoveries are made are when you take what you know, and you, and you go outside your box for just a li you, you stretch your box mm-hmm. <Affirmative> or you, you step across that line a little bit and you sort of, rather than like digging a hole a mile deep, you, you kind of go an inch deep and you expand a little bit.
And I think that’s what art breaks help people do. I think art breaks open your mind. They don’t have to, they’re not, they don’t have to open your mind to something that is completely the opposite of what you were thinking about. They can just, they can just stretch, you know, how you like stretch your legs a little bit and they feel better and you can breathe deeper. And heartbreak can help you do that with your brain and your emotions and things like that. And you can discover something that you’re like, wow, I can’t believe I just, I hadn’t thought about that before. Just because you’re living inside this box, right? Where you’re just like, there are these rules that I have to follow. Right? And that’s a normal thing, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, we have routines, we have habits, and we have, and those aren’t bad things.
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, I’m not arguing that those are bad things. I mean, forgiveness sake. I’m telling you to schedule <laugh> and heartbreak in your life because I know how life works. You know, schedules are magic, but you can also write schedule in spontaneity, which sounds weird, but you can, because you can do it on a piece of paper. You can be spontaneous on a, a piece of paper or you can be spontaneous in your backyard, go, you know, and close your eyes for five minutes and try to hear something you’ve never heard before. It almost, and I just, it seems like
Yeah. Yeah, go ahead. Oh, it almost seems like play and taking an heartbreak with I think are equal, right? Which they are equal. It’s almost like it gives you room or space, it gives you space
Something, I think.
Yeah. Yeah. This is what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that like it’s, and, and you and I have been going through this process of, in terms of language and definition, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, I think when people think of play, right, they think of like a, they think of a kid like running around and wearing like a superhero cape and, and, and like being silly. And and, and along the way, somehow for some reason, for some people, it doesn’t go away for everybody, but for some people as they age, and I think it’s like when you’re aware that people are looking at you and, and you’re aware, you’re aware of outside judgment you make a choice and you make a choice to either, to either hide that part of you and just like push it away. And some people, I think still do that part of them in private Right.
They just don’t show it to the outside world. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> or you shut it down completely. Right? Yeah. And I think what an heartbreak helps people do is okay, you don’t have to, you don’t have to run around like that if you don’t want to. I mean, I would argue you should cause it, right? Right. It will, it will be, it will feel so goofy mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and, and so out of place. And, and it will, I I promise you it won’t do anything bad. Right? It could only do good things to just Yeah. You know pretend to be a five year old for a minute. That would be kind of incredible.
Love it. But like an heartbreak helps you go there without having to go to that extreme as a child. Right? And so, like, I think that’s, it’s the redefinition of play that play as an adult doesn’t have to look like play as a kid, but we’re not talking about play where you go and you join your neighborhood soccer league. I mean go do that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And that is a type of play. But we are talking about, we are talking about a different kind of play. We’re talking about the play where you’re you’re not trying to win anything. You’re not trying to get from A to B you are, you’re like trying to just swoosh around for a little bit.
Yeah. I think, yeah, when you were speaking, I think, and I, I look at some of my, some people that I know when they become adults and I know, you know, I’ve known ’em as kids, but when they hit the, the apex and they become adults and then they go to college and then they start having a family and you see it on them, like that shift. Cuz if you’ve ever known, if you’ve ever seen people, you know, you grow up and then you see that shift when they kind of like, they start having kids and then it’s almost like the weight weight of the world starts, you know, really burden. It becomes a burden, right? I mean, you could see it in there in the way they’re being. It’s so what I think it was interesting. It’s like to take an art break is kind of for a moment in time just to lift that burden off. And I think a lot of times too, especially I feel that moms, you know it’s all about the kids. You know what I mean? It’s, you know, they forget about the, the heaviness and the weightness of responsibility. And I think that’s part of that why people don’t play it, because that’s part of it. That’s what I’m thinking. Yeah. It’s this,
I think you’re right,
This, it’s heavy. It’s feels like it’s on what I’m talking about. It feels like you just have the weight of this world and I have to be responsible. I have to take care of my kids. But so then it’s almost like, no, no, because you, you’re losing it. I mean, you’re losing the, you know what I mean? You’re losing the for life. And so it’s almost like you kind of don’t wanna be a model like that for your kid either, you know that Oh yeah, I gotta follow him home and dad, when I turn 20 something, 30 something children, I have to be like, you know, you know. Yeah. I just, I feel that’s it. And I think what we’re trying to say is, Hey, this is just a really, it’s a cost, it can be a cost-free solution for yourself. Yeah.
Oh, I love it. I love that. Yeah. Because
You’ve taking our break. Yeah.
Right, right. It’s this, it’s right. And, and if you are a parent try it with your kid. Yes. And it will be extremely magical. And I mean, and look at your child’s face when you sit down with them to draw a picture with them or even have a conversation with them about their own work or put on a play with them or put on a play for them or dance with them, you know something I’m gonna
Yeah. I love when you were talking about you told, shared the, the chapter with me and you’re like, this is just what an heartbreak is. You know, this, this is what play is, this is what an heartbreak. But I love tell the story that you were walking home with your, your jacket
Oh yeah. <Laugh>. So it’s
Just like, it really embodies it.
Yeah. It’s so I I’m like a, I I’m a total fan girl of Dr. Segel and Tina Payne Bryce who, who wrote this book together. And so I’ve read a lot of their books and I tr I, I use a lot of their philosophy when I parent, which is a basically it’s, you’re, you’re kind of walking through the world with your child and you are co-regulating, which is basically you are with your child to help them regulate their emotions until they’re able to self-regulate. Right. So I have a two-year-old who definitely cannot self-regulate self-regulation. Actually, if anybody wants to know, it doesn’t really happen until you’re 25. And so it takes a long time and it, and it’s the one that starts the earliest, it starts in utero and it doesn’t happen fully until you’re 25. And if you’re not given any of the tools, I mean, good luck getting it by the time you’re 25.
So as a parent, it’s really important for me. And it’s also really important to validate my children’s emotions because I don’t think we do that as a society. I think we’re very afraid of emotions, hence why I’m obsessed with our breaks. Cuz it helps people <laugh>. Anyway, so I was walking my two elementary age kids to school with my two-year-old and we don’t normally do it. It’s usually dad does it and then goes to work. And so it was the first time he had done it and he thought he was going with them because I mean, he’s two and so he was walking home and he is having a really hard time with it. And so I, you know, I recognized that he was having an emotional, he was having an emotionally hard time. So I bent down and I, I talked to him and I said, you know how would you like to walk home?
Would you like me to hold your hand to pick you up after, of course acknowledging that he was having a hard time or would you like to go 1, 2, 3 jump? And so he was like, 1, 2, 3 jump sounds great. And so rather than just have him do it, we did it together. And I felt like a total goofball. I was like, I, you know, look at me this 40 year old lady <laugh> just like, because cars are driving by cuz it’s school. And I’m like, 1, 2, 3 jump and 1, 2, 3 jump. But once I let go of that, of the not caring and the being in the moment with my kid, I mean, the alternative would have been what most parents, and I can speak from my heart because this is the first thing that floods through your body, is your face is red, you’re embarrassed and you just wanna pick your kid up and you run a want to run away because, because society judges emotions and they, they categorize things as good and bad emotions instead of being like, they’re just being a human, you know?
Right, right. And I let go of that and I was, I focused on my kid. And we’re better for it. We have a better relationship because of it. I felt better for it and he, it helped him unders, you know, kind of go through the emotion of missing his his brothers. But yeah, it was very freeing. It’s and I, yeah, I was laughing when I told Lisa because it’s like, you should like, you, you should be a goofball, you know? That’s what I love about my parents is that they are, they are goofballs like my, they’ve always been goofballs. They have the ability to be that way, you know, and I think you should show that to your children. You know, and they joke about like embarrassing your kids to, to help them deal with get a rough shell or whatever.
But it’s really not forgetting that you’re a kid at heart. And not even labeling it that cuz it’s not being a kid, it’s being a human. And I think that’s what it is, is like we categorize things. Oh well that’s right. Like you were saying, well art is, oh well that’s, that’s for kids. And it’s like, well yeah, it’s great for kids to do it, but an art break is just as beneficial if not more for an adult than a child. Because a child actually has a lot of ways to get to that flow and stuff like that. They can get to the, to the flow and the c curiosity and the creativity that they’re talking about that we are constantly talking about in so many ways, adults don’t have as many ways because of, I don’t know, the pressure we put on ourselves as adults society putting us in this box. Right. So I think an heartbreak is a really super easy, just like you were saying, way to just like break out of that box for a minute. You don’t even have to like, you don’t even have to do it in front of anyone else. If you’re not ready to 1, 2, 3, jump in front of a row of cars of people, I, I get that. But you can do it on a piece of paper, you know, you know
What I love?
You can do it in your living room
<Laugh>, you know what I love about that, that story you get, because also that’s imaginable realm of storytelling too, right? But it’s like you taught your kid and you taught yourself at that moment or retaught yourself that cuz you were probably stressed out too. I’m sending my kids to school of, you know. Yeah. Covid. I mean that’s a whole nother story. So it’s like, it’s like you taught your child your second year old and you retaught yourself that, oh my God, if I take an art break, tap into my play, my, you know, it’s also science in terms of like neuro pathways are going, oh. So when I’m a little stressed out and I get goofy, I feel better. And your brain goes, oh, so next time I’m stressed out <laugh>. You know what I mean? It’s like that’s what happens. It’s going, oh, next time instead of going like, I’m stressed out, I’m, you know, you react the same right way and your body’s just freaking out and your emotions are just freaking out. But what you’re doing is you’re retraining yourself right. On some level and then creating new pathways. Yep. So next time you’re stressed out, maybe you do the 1, 2, 3 jump <laugh> and maybe your child, you know, when he’s 15 years old will be like, oh my God, I have to take a test, but I’m gonna do the 1, 2, 3 jump and I got it. Right?
Yep. Exactly. Yeah. And it’s, that’s the amazing thing about the brain. And they talk about that in the book too. And there’s lots of books read about the brain. The brain is an amazing thing. Yes. But the fact that you, it is a muscle and you can, you can retrain your brain. It’s so, it’s sort of like, it’s not too late. Like if you’re an adult and you’re like, oh man, you know it’s too late for me. And I think that also happens, I think that as an adult we have a tendency to be like, oh, I could never Right? Da da da da da. And
Umm, alright, it’s too late, it’s too late for me. Just like, yeah,
It’s too late for me. And I do, I I just don’t, it’s not too late for anybody, you know? And those are, those are powerful stories of when you, when you decide to make a change and, and you go for it. I mean, I just think that I, I do, I get, I get frustrated because I think an heartbreak is such an easy answer. And I do wish that more people realize that it is such a powerful tool to help you and it, and it, and it doesn’t have to be a piece of paper. And I, I know I keep saying a piece of paper in a pen, it’s just, I feel like those are two things you could reach for right now. And you could, like, if you are stressed, if, if you are one of those parents, it’s like, I’ll, I’m sending my kids to school and I need to recognize the anxiety that, the weight that that is putting on me.
Because as, as parents you do, you have a tendency to try to shelter your own emotions because you’re, because you’re trying to protect your kids. Let me tell you, you’re not protecting your kids cuz your kids are so intuitive and they’re gonna know exactly how you feel. Right. So find a way to feel those emotions and to get through them. And an heartbreak can really help you with that. Is it gonna have all the answers? Maybe not, but it, it sure is a good place to start, you know, write down how you’re feeling. Like do some, what my friend calls rage coloring. If you need to just get a pen, like just, just get it, get it out of your body I front instead of trying to just push it down. Right. That’s the power of the heartbreak is that it will get it out of your body.
Yeah. And I, I think lastly what I love what you said is it’s human to play. It’s not just for children. It’s, it’s who we are as you know. And I think when you look at cats and dogs or puppies and they’re playing, everybody’s in joy, you’re like, oh my God, it’s so cute. You know, and they’re getting, they’re, they’re just plain right. And that’s what we love about watching animals or children because they’re plain and foster that within yourself. And also it is human to create art. So it’s almost like those two things, which basically taking an art break is, is plain art. So Yep. It’s, yeah.
You look at any,
You see me who you are, right?
Yes. And it, I love what I love about what they say about play in the Yes. Green Book. And I think that it definitely is, is we are trying to do the same thing. We’re trying, it helps you, let’s see, let me see if I can get the right words. It says it’s space and free time to discover the world and who you are. And that was the moment when I was like, yes, <laugh> <laugh>. That’s exactly, that’s exactly what an heartbreak is. It’s, it’s giving you, and it’s intentional. It’s intentionally giving yourself the time and the space to learn more about the world through exploration and to really get to know yourself.
I love it. I’m, I’m convinced I’m gonna take an art break right now,
<Laugh>. I know. Well, you look like you’re in a beautiful place to take one, so I’m gonna have to go like do some running in the rain. It’s raining here
Today. Oh, that’ll be fun. We’ll
Can sing Sing In the Rain.
There we go. Yeah, I’ll do that. Sing in
The rain. All right. Yeah. Till next time.