Multiple events are happening in the world. Many things are outside our control. However, the practice of PLOK is in our control and may lead to some sense of calmness and peace for periods of time in a turbulent pandemic. What is PLOK? PLOK is the combination of PLAY and WORK. This is when you are following your heart and loving what you do. It is not work any more. It can be viewed as a creative process. The term was coined by Sister Mary Kent Corita. Sister Mary Kent Corita was an amazing woman, teacher, artist, social activist and nun in the religious order, Immaculate Heart of Mary. This post is a short reflection on practice of PLOK in the pandemic. PLOK activities can be very powerful practices for calmness.
PLOK AND CREATIVITY
Some people are blessed with circumstances where they can engage in PLOK at a paid job, which, financially sustains them. Many people, however, engage in PLOK as a hobby or side project. PLOK may also represent flow experience in positive psychology where a person loves what he or she is doing and becomes immersed in the activity for hours. Please see post ON FLOW in positive psychology. Some call it entering the “zone”. I think of it as the sacred space of creation. PLOK activities feed the soul, lighten the heart, stimulate the mind and replenishes the body. Engrossment in PLOK activities is soothing, refreshing and joyful. I have heard this from writers, painters, athletes, surfers and poets that they are so immersed in the activity, they do not notice time flying by. I had a previous supervisor who was an avid surfer. He said that for good surfing, he watches the waves intently and nothing else is in his mind. He described laser sharp focus in catching and riding the wave. While surfing, he saw himself as part of the wave. While surfing, he and the wave are one. This union with the activity reminds me of yoga experiences. He discussed the exhilaration and utter joy after a great surfing experience.
Some artists have talked about their best creative work as co-creating with the Universe, meaning material comes from somewhere else and they catch it through the medium of art, words or paint etc. The American poet, Ruth Stone discussed the uniqueness of her creative process. The website, coolerinsights.com, describes Ruth Stone’s creative process as the following:
“As a child growing up on a farm in rural Virginia, Ruth could sometimes hear a poem coming towards her like a galloping horse rushing across the land. She would then “run like hell” towards the house so that she can stay ahead of the poem, and catch it with a pencil and paper.
Though the euphoric feeling when inspiration strikes is amazing, we are advised to “let it come and let it go”. In other words, we should continue creating our art, and put it out there for the world (or ourselves) to savour”.
Other writers talk about the inspiration for creation coming from deep inside of self. For example: Elizabeth Gilbert Wrote,“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner – continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you – is a fine art, in and of itself.”
RULES FOR PLOK
Sister Mary Kent Corita wrote the ten rules for students and teachers. I also see the rules as relevant to learning, the creative process, and PLOK. They also seem great guides for life. I love the rules.