“Combinatory play” can be described as “the process of taking unrelated things (thoughts, ideas, topics, images, disciplines, etc.) and putting them together to generate new, useful ideas.” 
For example, “Einstein famously came up with some of his best scientific ideas during his violin breaks, which he believed connected different parts of his brain in new ways.” 
“Combinatory play” sums up what I’m up to at this stage of my sabbatical. I'm collecting a variety of enriching experiences around certain themes and keeping an open mind of the results. My approach to “R&D,” if you will.
For example, in the theme of “Nature,” I went on my first backpacking trip, became certified in Wilderness First Aid and participated in a foraging walk in Golden Gate Park.
At the intersection of “Nature” and “Art,” I took a class at the San Francisco Art Institute on Environmental Installation.
In the theme of “Art,” I’m taking my first poetry class, at the Writing Salon in Berkeley. I'm also working on my art book and exploring various projects at my shared art studio space in the Mission (more on those in future email updates).
And so on.
Process vs. results
This process of Combinatory Play is separate from its results.
Furthermore, those results can be expected and unexpected. Those results can also be immediate or later.
For example, in 2012 I completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program. Some results were immediate and expected (e.g. a stronger yoga practice).
Some results were immediate and unexpected (e.g. decision not to teach yoga at the time), while other results were later and unexpected (e.g. inspired several art pieces I created in 2015, such as this).
In a similar way, I’m doing this process of Combinatory Play around certain themes, but keeping an open mind to the results.
While some of these endeavors have already borne fruit in the most unexpected of ways (more on that in future updates), I understand that some may come up in my art life or tech life years from now… or maybe never.
With that in mind, I select activities that I enjoy and can learn from, so that at the very least, I have fun and have learned something new.
"How we choose to pay attention, and relate to information and each other shapes who we become, shapes our creative destiny and, in turn, shapes our experience of the world."