So you’ve got a lot on your plate, before you cross one more thing off the To-Do List have you asked yourself lately, isn’t there more to life than being a do-do, go machine? Sure you’re good at getting things done but are you enjoying yourself? What if each moment could be fun and enjoyed, not postponed to some future time or when you finally make it to the weekend. If you’re not enjoying yourself while getting it all done, you might be taking it all a little too seriously.
First let’s have a look at what has us take life too seriously. We often have ridged ideas of when play can happen that is limiting. Many of us are waiting or holding off having fun for that special event, being with that person who makes us laugh, when we get home, that ski trip or summer vacation. We have separated play and work so much that even considering combining the two would just feel like more work. If you look up play in the Thesaurus, it’s no surprise to find play’s Antonym: work. Let me emphasize that this is NOT another thing you have to fit into your day.
Let’s make play and work a Synonym. Realize that it all starts with you. Play is a way of being; it strikes you in the moment and can be unleashed at any time. It’s self-generated. As I write this, finding the next words to express, I’m humming to myself. Not as a distraction, many of us think play is counterproductive to work or the task at hand. It’s a quality of being that can blend itself into anything you are doing.
Let’s journey back into childhood and see how being conditioned away from our natural playful nature paved the way to our seriousness.
We learned early on that playing could result in being irresponsible or even get us hurt. Mimi Doe, author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting explains one study, ‘…the average child hears the word no or don’t over 148,000 times while growing up, compared with just a few thousand yes messages.’
Hearing the words “no” or “don’t! You’ll hurt yourself,” we become ingrained that something bad could happen. It’s better to follow the rules and play it safe. “Stop acting like a child.” “Grow up.” “Start acting your age.” In seeking our parent’s approval, little by little we trained our self into how we’re “supposed” to act. What becomes important is our validation from others. In seeking approval we focus on what other people think of us, worried about rejection. As adults this later translates to the need to have it figured out or appearing to have it figured out, or to not make a mistake and screw up.
As we graduate to the next level in grade school, and our classrooms have less colored paper, glue sticks and crayons, our focus now requires due-diligence, working hard to succeed and to please. We begin to separate play and joy from our work. A well-spoken quote from Leo F. Buscaglia reminds us, “It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” We falsely learn that play has no place in the world of our success. We must work hard in a “no-pain, no-gain” paradigm that you must put your nose to the grindstone to succeed. Play becomes one less important thing to fit into your day that you’ll likely not get around to.
Hit the refresh button in your mind, color outside the lines, and bring some freshness into your relationship to life.
What are some of the qualities that play can give us?
When you play you are bringing newness to what are doing. It gives energy and vibrancy to the moment. It’s a full moment like taking a breath of fresh air. Play nurtures that lighthearted sense of the world’s ironies and our own personal one’s. It gently lets us look at our own quirks and idiosyncrasies. It also brings flexibility to our thinking, creates spaciousness and engages our imagination. When you play you are saying “I trust.” We must be trusting to be creative. Play allows us see our world in new ways, giving us resiliency where we can bounce back and say “ahhh, I’m OK!” Play encourages us to ask, what if? I wonder? Wouldn’t it be fun if?
To be truly playful, you may not always fit in and appear normal but you’ll certainly be having more fun! And if the people in your life are suddenly saying “What’s gotten into you?” well then, you’re on the right track and doing great!!! It’s a choice and you’re in the driver’s seat, so go on take the playful road!
Power of Play: Recording Available April 24th
Weave play into your everyday life to enhance your creativity, imagination, and feelings of fun! Discover when you are naturally your playful self. Create a sense of curiosity and magic for life like you did when you were a child. Let go of the old “no-pain, no-gain” paradigm that you must put your nose to the grindstone to succeed. Doors will open where there were walls before. The right people show up at the right time. “Ease and grace” are your new key words. Let’s Play!
Discover more with tips, insights and a guided visualization on play in our recorded session from the 6 part Authenticity Tele-Series. Sign up to receive the Free recording- available through May, 2012.