R U free to play?
School holidays have begun, watching the children in my life I remember the concept of play. It has been on my too do, longed for list for too long. I can become Missing in action with life, stale with seriousness. “R U Free to play?” is the text message sent out to friends.
The spark of joy, the spontaneity that clears the mind, inspires imagination and vitalizes our life is play otherwise known as recreation. It is an attitude that transforms the ordinary into super powers, common objects are treasures and the moment holds an infinity. Hang out with a toddler and your perspective shifts as a walk in the garden becomes a science expedition, groove time and ode sung to the fairies. Play is not reserved to children as it nourishes adults lives to.
I worked with a mother who was an artist and she would allocate herself 30 minutes a day to do her art. It was her haven where, what she did was hers, it was not altered by the family and she saw it grow. Giving ourselves permission to play nurtures our wellbeing. Our mind shifts as we become absorbed in play experiencing the flow of being in the moment. Learning is possible with play as we explore, trial, invent, discover new skills and roles. Play is unique to you it may be a jigsaw, a hammock lie or building a sandcastle.
The CC’s of Play
The CC’s are competition and cooperation these two elements run as an undercurrent and influence the tone of play. Competition the drive to win can motivate but when taken to far rivalry, pressure, put downs and cheating arise. Competitive play can be harmful and limiting. When people start to compare themselves, their self concept is measured according to others skills and attributes leaves many of us lacking and wanting. Recently there has been reports that children are not engaging in sport for fear of losing. You win when you turn up and participate.
Cooperation is the team work that comes from working together for a common goal. My sister describes how my nephew was winning a race and turned to see his mate behind him and stopped to wait so they could finish together. Sharing and striving together can lead to humour outbreaks with seriousness sitting on the sideline. Seriousness with its judgement and angst needs to be broken down as it can become an aspect of overblown self importance.
Freedom to play
Play is free but there is a cost to your wellbeing if you don’t play.
Deep fried burnout, hyper alert defenses, rigid schedules and the need to be right all the time are some of the signs of play withdrawal.
R U Free to play?
Can you give yourself this timeout?
Can you drop the seriousness of life?
Can you laugh at yourself?
Play exists beyond childhood or holidays. As Wayne Hackett stated:
“Its never to late to have a happy childhood”.