I love watching my granddaughter play in the splash pool in my back yard. One time she had her doll and wanted it to have a boat. She must have tried 7 different things before she found something that worked. Each time she had a story attached to what was happening and she was just delighted. Last night her mom gave her an inner tube that was just a bit bigger than she was and said if you lay on top of it you will find it relaxing. Well that started an entire series of the tube flipping and all of us laughing as she figured out how to balance on that tube. Once she did, she felt amazing and confident.
I share this because children’s play and learning are a daily part of life. They are constantly saying “oh that didn’t work let’s try….” Or it’s practice over and over until mastery comes. Somewhere along the line as adults play has come to be seen as something that is put off until last, as frivolous, or an escape. Yet having play as a spiritual practice and part of everyday life is a huge help in living the ups and downs of life.
Play in its purist form is a lot like meditation. There is no ultimate objective except for the act itself. It is a place where you can try something new, release the time and just let what happens happen. When you play you take the seriousness out of it and failure is no longer a huge weight. It’s part of the play. When have you ever said, “Oh, I was just playing around.” You may play with tools, yarn, exercise equipment, technology, etc. Right now, I am playing with a new piece of music for the piano. I have no other objective than to play around with the notes and see what happens. I won’t perform it or become a professional piano player. I’m just going to play with notes, sound and whether my brain and fingers are still cooperating with each other.
There are lasting effects to play because it does stretch you and you can turn something that feels like failure into an opportunity to play in life. That didn’t work … I wonder what would happen if…? Try finding a place in your life to play.
If there something you’ve always wanted to try but were nervous it wouldn’t work out – try making it play.
Are you wanting to connect with others yet unsure how to connect? Invite some people over to play some games.
Are you overwhelmed with work and seriousness? Pull out some crayons and just color with no objective in mind or go out and play in your garden.
Adding play as a regular part of your spiritual practice will reap benefits well beyond your time of play.
If you are looking for a simple and easy way to play with others check out this month’s Art and Soul – we are painting rocks!! Now, how playful is that?! I love to take them on my walks and scatter them around!
May your week be filled with play!