Charlie picked it up and tore off the wrapper …and suddenly …from underneath the wrapper …there came a brilliant flash of gold. Charlie’s heart stood still.
“It’s a Golden Ticket!” screamed the shopkeeper, leaping about a foot in the air. “You’ve got a Golden Ticket! You’ve found the last Golden Ticket!”
I personally believe that playfulness is like a golden ticket, but unlike Willy Wonka’s limited number of five, there is a golden ticket for everyone – if they want to find it. Playfulness is an invitation; an invitation to see that perhaps there is another way of looking at, experiencing, imagining life. The five characters in Ronald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, all obtain their Golden Tickets by the same means. They have to unwrap chocolate bars to find them. The tickets are all lying on a bed of chocolate which metaphorically, I think could represent the bedrock of child-like wonder, the playful experiences we had in our younger days. The wrapping has to be peeled off to get to the ticket and of course the chocolate. My suggestion is that adulthood is this wrapper. Our playfulness can get hidden under the layers of worry, responsibilities, busyness, work and endless demands. In order to reconnect to playfulness – because it hasn’t gone anywhere – we need to make that conscious decision to pull off those layers to rediscover it.
By doing so we are not shirking our responsibilities, or ignoring the issues that can drag us down, rather we are recognising the need to reach down and hold hands with our inner child. In doing so, I believe we find the Golden Ticket which enables us to re-enter the world of imagination, colour, creativity, adventure, possibilities and dreams. It can therefore give us the strength, ability, resilience and courage to face the difficult aspects of life as opposed to being overwhelmed by them. The Golden Ticket represents hope because it is available to all.
In order to enter Willy Wonka’s inner world, a ticket was needed. I will unpack this further as I walk this playful journey. But I realise that my work is about highlighting this Golden Ticket. When I reveal the workings of my own playful mind and present the thoughts and images that come from it, I am not imposing those ideas on to folk – I certainly don’t intend to – I am merely suggesting that may be there is another way of looking at things/the world around us and encouraging others to take up that invitation to join me.
Walking past rows of recycling bins captured my imagination. I saw lots of crocodiles bathing in pools of green water. Their eyes, ears and nostrils are on the top of their heads to enable them to stalk their prey with their bodies mostly in the water. Our recycling bin lids are definitely crocodiles. It’s all in the nose. A crocodile’s nose is more pointed and ‘V’ shaped, whilst an alligator’s is a U shaped snout. Of course, by the time I encountered the congregation of crocodiles, they had all been emptied, were very hungry and were inevitably discussing what their next meal might be. At this point I decided to run.
I was drawn to this exhaust pipe the other day. It had been dumped beside a bush in our local park, but it really looked like a rag doll when I first noticed it. I saw its floppy legs, outstretched arm and funny Picasso head and it looked as if it was trying to get into an impossible aerobic position. There’s been a lot of shifting, repositioning and adapting during these past months. It has been necessary to keep up with the constant changes but it has been exhausting. I don’t think anyone can look back and say they haven’t been impacted in some way. We may have been stretched in areas we never expected and ache in places we would prefer not to. It has been a work out on every front, but there is hope that we can soon put at least some of those weights down.
I saw this rhino not far from where I spotted the exhaust pipe. Thankfully it didn’t see me or consider me a threat. Rhinoceroses are the world’s second largest land mammals to the elephant. They can weigh the equivalent of 30 grown men yet can run up to 40 MPH! They have no predators (apart from man) and yet they aren’t exactly confident. They can’t see very well and if they feel threatened or fearful they will charge. Sometimes our emotions overwhelm and we want to run away from the painful and tough situations in front of us. Instead of charging at others with words, it’s then we need to take charge of our thoughts and remind ourselves that this too will pass. I want my tests to become my testimonies, the messes that sometimes happen through no fault of my own, to become my messages. To end though, here’s another fun fact for you – a group of rhinos is a crash and these giants communicate with each other through their dung. I am glad I’m not a rhino.