The importance of PLAY for adults (if you feel OLD, you may need this more than ever)
So what do you do for play? Do you play an instrument? Play a sport? Play with your kids? Why do you do it? What does it bring you? When was the last time you played for playing's sake???
Play invites into the body a joy and an inner state in the mind that nothing else does. It is a natural balancer of emotions and re-boots the mind while giving an alive feeling to the body. Play is a way to develop concentration. Play is a state that can be reached through a variety of methods to enter into a flow of dreamy concentration where deep thoughts trickle thru and inspired action is engaged continually. Play for many of us, was something we did very young, and then spent much of our life trying to "grow up " quickly never to return to again. The opposite of play??? Shame. Shaming stops play in it's tracks. Play is the way into releasing shame and finding joy again. It's magic.
I sometimes paint, or dance for play. Today I took time to find a sunny spot in my yard. I stretched out and lay on my back thinking how my cat always enjoys finding that perfect spot and lounging. I rolled on my back a little, over the acorns and leaves.... and allowed myself time to just look up and notice the branches and tree tops. I let myself go into this rejuvenating place. It's where I enter into my imagination and allow my mind to rest. In Kai I allowed this same open curiosity to guide me and found myself exploring the walls and my body as if for the first time..... The walls offered a backdrop for me to create on. My body explored skipping, dragging a foot, shaking my head, doing odd things just because it "felt playful".
Thinking a bit tonight on the therapeutic aspects ( not to mention time/age reversing benefits) of play. For me it's a way to bust thru old " rules" of conformity, being perfect, following others, not standing out, being obnoxious instead of always being " good", etc...... these old " rules" effect so much in how we move thru life. Play is also a way to try on new ways of "being". When we come up against challenges in our life play evokes the creative mind to allow other possibilities to come forth......this is both physical and mental. Our bodies "freeze" when we become overwhelmed, too serious, or filled with thoughts that are shaming or negative. Play opens this door to movement and lots of varieties of ways. Play by-passes judgement and is the great leveler.....we are all ageless when we play. Play is a way to re-wire you into your beautiful, potent, ageless capacity to engage with life and live with your inner child feeling happy, loved and free.
Tips to bring in more play:
1. Consider different kinds of play from hand play, role play, strategic play, horsing around play, and you name it.......different ways to activate that state of flow.
2. Choose it even if you feel uncomfortable at first. You are "breaking rules" so that means breaking thru inner agreements you want to change. Be brave, take a chance, and do it!
3. It may take some practice! Many of us have healing work to do around re-parenting our inner child. This means you'll have to notice some stuff, let go, make it a regular thing and be extra loving with yourself. You may even need to bump up against some places and times that your playful child was a little too in control......knowing where, when and how much is a skill to practice.
Some fun ideas of where you can begin to bring play in?
- Find playful ways to do simple or boring tasks. Doing the dishes on one foot, or whistling while you put on your shoes. You might try tossing a coin while you get your mail....choose one and make it a regular moment to access play.
- Find playmates! Bringing play into the bedroom with your partner might be fun:)
- Go on a mission.....engage with your surroundings and create a character you role play ( with friends or alone). Find a destination and set up the scenario in your mind. Don't forget to dress for the character in some way!
- Become curious about the many amazing things you can train your body to do. My son can clap with one hand....truly.
- Let yourself get awkward......it's the doorway into releasing all that holds you back from deep playful bliss.