The Gift of Play

The Gift of Play

July 2, 2017
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in Tip

Playing with SixtenInspired by my friend Michael Sillion I’ve started to gift people a podcast, or a blog post, or something else that I perceive to be virtual and meaningful, on their birthday. And I find that the podcast I most often feel like gifting to people, is the On Being episode with Stuart Brown “Play, Spirit and Character”.

It’s an episode which I’ve listened to many times by now, and which I will listen to many times to come as well. Stuarts voice reminds me of Martin Sheen, whose episode on On Being also is a keeper. So when I listen to Stuart, I get the added bonus of being reminded of the wisdom shared by Martin in “Spirituality of Imagination” which I have recommended in a previous blog post.

The conversation centers on the importance of play for a person to grow up, develop and blossom into a full human being. The implications of not being allowed to play during childhood, are severe, and yet, what I find so fascinating in this conversation is my joy at discovering that we are built to play throughout our lives, even “as adults”.

“… the human being really is designed biologically to play throughout the life cycle. And that, and from my standpoint as a clinician, when one really doesn’t play at all or very little in adulthood, there are consequences: rigidities, depression, lack of adaptability, no irony — you know, things that are pretty important, that enable us to cope in a world of many demands.”

Playing with PopTo engage in a little “guilt-free purposelessness” each and every day, is one of the main messages I take from this talk. Stuart also describes his experience of play as having “some sense of timelessness and freedom and purposelessness” or the more poetic description as being “outside of time”. That phrase has such a lovely ring to it, and I know just the feeling! Hoping you do too? And don’t get thrown by the word p l a y as such. There’s a lot of things that can be included in the term p l a y, so if you are engaged in an activity of any kind and experiencing being outside of time – you don’t have to look any further than that.

So play on – because life truly is meant to be a playground!

In 2015 I ran a series on with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts, mixing them up with new podcast recommendations, such as this one. 

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Doing gentle – 11 – Play!

March 27, 2016
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Play. Oh how I have resisted this. Taken myself so seriously. The pain I’ve inflicted upon myself, telling myself it’s important to be right, vital not to appear silly, crucial to be well-poised and serious. Pain. Yes. I use that word. Because it’s been painful. The loss of face can hurt a lot, when the concept of face has been blown out of all proportions in my inner dialogue. When I’ve created a narrative around myself, that being playful, silly, happy and lighthearted is wrong. Bad. A sign of a weak character. Unworthy. And so on…

Guess what?play
I have started to practice to play. To experiment with it. With me.

And it’s gotten to the point, where I am quite good at playing mentally. In my mind, with my thoughts. I’ve learned not to take my thoughts so seriously, not putting so much weight on them. But physically…. that’s harder for me. I’ve kept myself under such a tight regime, not allowing my body to express playfulness, silliness, happiness.

What if I let the little child within out? Allowing, no, more than that, inviting her to come out and play? When I do, I feel silly. Self-conscious, oh so self-conscious. Thinking everybody is looking at me, pointing fingers, laughing at how silly I am. Sometimes it helps knowing that everybody else has the same thoughts. Or at least, a huge majority does. But why should I let this stop me? How does that serve me?

What if, we all stopped taking ourselves so seriously? What if, we lived life, as if life is a playground instead? A place to play, experiment, have fun, be silly, laugh until we wet our pants, and expand as human beings?

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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