Guest Post: Magical Day Dream

I’m extremely honored to have Marielle, of Magical Day Dream, guest posting today. She is beautiful, fun, and creative in my favorite ways. I strongly recommend reading through to get to know her, and then keeping up with her blog if you don’t already!

1) You’re such a bright and creative person! What would you consider your worldview to be? How has that inspired your lifestyle?

Ahh, thank you! I believe every single person has talents. Part of my worldview is to develop these talents to the best I can and use them to bring others joy. I believe it is my personal mission to live passionately and courageously and to make pretty and playful things that unite people and inspire them to live life to the full and dream without limitation.

Although I barely ever talk about it on my blog, my worldview is hugely affected by my religious view. I believe that God is love and that He is good, and that I can help to spread His love around me.

A few years back I recognized that playfulness and creativity help me to ‘live fully’. When I started to understand this, I started to pro-actively integrate these elements into my lifestyle, simply by making them a priority.

2) Something I admire about you is your ability to play. What would you say to people who are afraid to let themselves play?

There is a huge stigma on play, at least for adults. It’s based on the unfortunate misconception that play is only for children. First of all, you need to understand what play is. Research shows that play is a biological need that makes us more productive and happy. When you acknowledge this need, it is clear that a lack of play will have a clear impact on your everyday life.

When you struggle with allowing yourself to play, it can help to look more closely into your fears. Why don’t you play? Are you afraid of the opinions of others? Do you think you are ‘simply too old’? Are you afraid that you won’t get enough ‘work done’ if you play? Then ask yourself if these fears are important enough to limit you in your playful pursuits. Most of the time, they are not.

It can also help to look back on good, playful, childhood memories. These can be helpful in discovering what kind of play you enjoy most. For me ‘creating’ is a huge one, but perhaps for you it might be storytelling, a physical activity or a prank. We all have different play personalities, dare to embrace yours!

3) How much time do you dedicate to being creative every day or week? Do you have schedules or wait till inspiration strikes?

I don’t have a regular schedule or timing. Most times I need to challenge myself to be creative. Some weeks I will set myself a creative challenge and stick to it for a week. Sometimes I am busy and don’t make enough time for fun. A while ago I cleared out my entire schedule to dedicate a full two weeks to make a series of canvas paintings. People often don’t see that ‘being creative’ means making an effort. I try to make the conscious decision to do creative things regularly to keep my creative muscles strong. But every moment you sit on the couch watching tv (not saying that’s a bad thing necessarily) you could also be creating awesome new things. In the end it is always a matter of prioritizing. Because play and creativity are so closely linked for me, I need to consciously allow myself to ‘be creative’ sometimes. But I also notice that often my best ideas come from my ‘play time’. I can find it difficult to do that when I have a million other things to do, but I also realize that I need creativity to keep inspired and happy.

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4) One of your great projects was folding 1,000 paper cranes and passing them out to strangers. What was your favorite reaction from a stranger who received one? Do you find it easier now to interact with people you don’t know?

A girl who bought me a flower to thank me. That moment helped me see that I do make a difference with my efforts (which isn’t always obvious). Also two girls who didn’t know each other connected because they both tried to find the source of my project after receiving a crane. One of them searched online until she found my blog, and informed the other over twitter. I thought that was really awesome too.

I think part of me will always be somewhat anxious in how my projects will be received. I put my heart and soul in my creations, and I am aware of the possibility that people might not like what I do. Being vulnerable is difficult, but not a bad thing. I am slowly learning that my efforts aren’t ‘worthless’ just because someone doesn’t understand or appreciate what I do.

In some aspect, you will always be ‘the weirdo’, simply because you do things that other people don’t. After receiving a crane, a man told me, smiling: “You must be at least a little bit crazy, to stand here at the train station giving people paper cranes in the early morning.” He meant it in the best way possible, but he had a point. If you want to make a change, or contribute in a positive way, your behaviour will probably be unconventional.

5) You’ve lived in a bunch of countries! Have you noticed any differences in how your projects have been received in different parts of the world?

That is true. However, I started my blog late 2010, early 2011. I have lived only in the Netherlands from that period until now. So I can’t say that I can make an honest comparison to the reactions on my projects in other countries.

In general, I do feel that living in different countries opened me up to different cultures and ways of thinking. It helped me see that just because a group of people considers something to be ‘normal’, doesn’t necessarily mean it is normal.

I might have picked up some customs and experiences unconsciously from my international adventures. In India I baked sweets for flat neighbors before, because of the holidays. It isn’t such an uncommon thing to do there. People tend to be hospitable and friendly and invite you over without knowing you very well. In the Netherlands we have a completely different take on hospitality. So when I baked cookies for my neighbours here, whom I don’t know, it was a completely absurd thing to do.

You open up to the cultural differences that you see, you compare them, and you take the best from every culture. Of course there will always be differences in cultural perception. I don’t think that, as a woman, approaching men with a crane would be considered appropriate in all parts of the world. There are obviously cultural differences, but I believe that the intention of most of my projects is universally understood.

Thank you so much, Marielle! I look forward to your future projects. And guys! Did you know she created this fountain?!