Play Is Productive – Younger Self and Creativity

The author’s Younger Self, age 2.

There’s a concept that I often share with my one-on-one book midwife clients and during various workshops. It comes from one of my favorite authors of all time, Starhawk. She’s a Pagan activist, writer, and leader of the Reclaiming tradition. I’ve read nearly all of her books, and recommend them highly.

In her classic work The Spiral Dance, Starhawk writes about the Triple Self that we each have within our psyche. It’s reminiscent of the id, ego, and superego of psychology, but not quite the same.

Talking Self is a bit like the ego. It’s the left-brain, waking consciousness part of the mind. Talking Self likes to make lists, plan things out, and sound knowledgeable. Buddhists refer to this as the “monkey mind,” the part that keeps on chattering, even when we’re trying to sleep or meditate.

Younger Self is the inner child. It is right-brained, wild, and imaginative. You might picture it as yourself before the age of 7 or so, if that feels right. A client who had a traumatic childhood prefers to call it the Junger Self, after Carl Jung and his notions of the collective unconscious, which also fits. Younger self loves bright colors, sensory input, stories, and playing.

Deep Self is our connection to the non-physical. It is the seat of the soul, centered in the heart. Deep Self is wise and intuitive, and its quiet whispers often go unheard. This is where the deep wellspring of creativity and magick within each of us resides. If you’ve ever had a creative experience where everything else dropped away and you were completely immersed in the flow state, you were aligned with Deep Self.

Here’s the really interesting part, the key to what I teach my clients: Talking Self and Deep Self can’t communicate directly. They need Younger Self as a go-between, a translator of sorts.

In order to fully access the wisdom and creative powers of Deep Self, of your soul, you must align all three aspects the Triple Self.

The best way to do this is to connect with Younger Self – and what Younger Self loves more than anything is to play.

We don’t usually think of play as productive, but in terms of creative projects it’s essential. Actually, it goes beyond just our writing, art, or designs. Play powers creativity, and creativity touches on pretty much all aspects of life.

“Play is, in fact, one of the most practical methods of survival, both individually and for the species. Within its framework lie the secrets of creativity, and within the secrets of creativity lie the secrets of being.” – Seth through Jane Roberts

In order for our creations (and indeed, our lives) to have the impact we’d like, it’s best to involve Younger Self from the start.

How do you do that? Younger Self adores beauty and the input of the senses. It loves things like candles, incense, bright and fragrant bouquets of flowers, rich chocolate, sharp citrus, gorgeous spots in nature, sparkly crystals, and evocative music. When I listed these things in a workshop, one of my clients responded, “So, basically you’re talking about romancing ourselves?” Yes.

Romancing the Younger Self allows you to align fully with all parts of the Triple Self, before you sit down to create. It gives you access to the full creative power that is your Deep Self, which is connected with the entire cosmos. It grants you access to the Mysteries, if only for a short time.

In order to truly thrive as an artist, your quest is to playfully engage your Younger Self on a regular basis. Next time, I’ll share some ways to accomplish that in the course of daily life.

In the meantime, if you feel like you need to brush up on being playful, here are some easy tips. Enjoy!


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