The Big Questions

Hello, everyone! It's been a roller-coaster of a month, hasn't it? 

I've been away from my desk, enjoying some family vacation time in South Florida and getting back on the workaholic recovery track. (I definitely fell off the wagon this spring with my book release and several large projects!) 

Naples Pier sunset. A perfect place to play?

Naples Pier sunset. A perfect place to play?

While we were away, I had an easy time "unplugging." I adjusted almost immediately to a twice-a-day e-mail check, and spent entire days away from my laptop. But there was one thing I noticed almost immediately. 

I had forgotten how to play. 

I could distance myself from the technical aspects of work, yes, but there was something holding me back from complete enjoyment of our vacation time. My list of tasks was different - washing beach towels and planning dinner, rather than tackling marketing and posting on social media - but I was struggling to leave behind my result-oriented mind space. 

My brother and sister, who joined us on our vacation, both have worked with children for a living: Tristan as a gymnastics coach, and Ana as an aerial arts and circus arts teacher. Play is a teaching tool for them, and comes as naturally as breath. As I watched them play with my little Moonbeam (now a precocious toddler with a lot of opinions and boundless energy), I realized that I have grown very uncomfortable with play. I wondered if I was ever really good at it. 

For too long, I've been concerned with "adulting" and managing all the aspects of daily life. I thrive in a management role. I can take on tasks and responsibilities like nobody's business. But fun? Spontaneity? That's hard. It feels purposeless, directionless. Maybe not quite like a waste of time, but close. 

So, as I struggled to play, relax, and be in the moment, I started to ask myself some big questions - questions that have been bubbling under the surface of my mind for a long time. 

  • Why is it so hard for me to let go and enjoy myself?

  • What am I trying to control by concentrating on responsibility instead of joy?

  • What do I actually receive when I prioritize tasks over relationships?

  • What would it look like if I prioritized fun over obligation?

  • What would it take for me to find time for fun every single day?

Woah. Mind =  blown.

Questions like these are hard to ask. The answers are even harder to process, let alone integrate. But as I floundered, neck-deep, in this pool of self-reflection, I realized that the answers I come up with, and the ways in which I implement them, will reach beyond my personal life and experience; they will fundamentally change the way I approach the work to which I am so devoted.

Play, joy, and freedom are vital to the creative process. In order to create in the most magical way possible, we need to stop creating and just be. Not only when a project is done, or when we're on vacation, but every single day.  

Okay, I know. Duh! Most people have probably already figured this out. But for some reason, this basic truth has eluded me for the last thirty-whatever years of my life. In order to do my best work, I have to de-prioritize work in favor of play, rest, and spontaneous fun. 

So if you notice that I've missed a week (or three) of blog posts, or if your inbox is missing me on any given Monday, send me some love. I'm off learning to fly again. 

Bryna Rene Haynes is the founder and President of The Heart of Writing, the chief editor for Inspired Living Publishing, and the best-selling author of The Art of Inspiration: An Editor's Guide to Writing Powerful, Effective Inspirational and Personal Development Books.In over a decade as a writer, editor, ghostwriter, designer, and publishing consultant, she has helped hundreds of authors find their authentic voices and create powerful, memorable, successful works. She lives outside of Providence, RI, with her husband, Matthew, and their little Moonbeam, Áine.