As I walked in the snow-covered park I came across a group of young people building an igloo. Some were busy filling black plastic recycling boxes with snow; others picked up the boxes and carried them over to someone inside the structure who carefully placed this latest block in position. No one appeared to be in charge, yet they worked perfectly as a team. When people enjoy what they do, I thought, they don’t need someone to oversee or manage them; they just get on with it.
Apart from teamwork, snow also clearly brings out creativity and playfulness in people as more and more snowmen and snow sculptures appeared in the park. I came across one snowball so large and heavy that it must have taken at least four people to move it. Perhaps, I mused, the different perspective on the world afforded by snow gives us permission to play, have fun and try things out, without a care for what others may think or whether it is a useful or sensible thing to do. Most of the sculptures I saw must have taken quite a bit of effort and time to create – yet none of them will last. We all know that snow will melt – in this part of the world sooner rather than later.
But that does not matter, when the snow is here now, in this moment, we can allow ourselves to enjoy it and have fun. What’s more, being creative and working with others is therapeutic in itself; it reconnects us with the innocent child inside us, the part that wants to relate, have fun and play. It also integrates the two sides of our brain – the left side that is concerned with rationality, and the right side that is concerned with creativity, emotion, intuition and forming relationships.
A good book to read on this subject is:
Iain McGilchrist ‘s The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.
See a review of the book at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jan/02/1
(I heard Iain McGilchrist speak in Bristol last year; he was absolutely fascinating).