So… April’s theme was play… where did that take us?
When play emerged as one of the goalposts for wholehearted living in Brene Brown’s research she was so disconnected from play, as an adult, that she didn’t even recognise it as a thing! When I read The Gifts of Imperfection and went on to do Brene’s ecourse I can remember how much that resonated with me.
There are so many things that can get in the way of play for us as adults… responsibility, chores, work, earning, needing to feel productive, pride, what other people think…
What gets in the way of play for you?
Thinking about those barriers… are they external or internal barriers? Are they real barriers to play or just barriers we tell ourselves we have? Is it true that you can’t spend time in play …because you’ve chores to do? …because you need to work or to earn? Or is it just something we just tell ourselves?
Afterall, there are always more chores; we could always work more; the need to be productive is just conditioned behaviour… it’s not who we are. And we get to choose how to measure our success… we can choose to measure success by a clean house; by a 70 hour work week, or (and this may feel a little novel…) by the amount of time we spend in play each day or each week.
How do you measure success? Where does play figure in that?
Accepting then that at least some of the time our barriers to play are internal, i.e. more to do with mindset than external circumstances, giving yourself permission to play may help.
Here’s the permission I give myself…
What do you need to give yourself permission for?
Play for Jen & I this month has included skating, dancing, wild swimming, singing, creating, walking, building lego, slides, paddling, playing games, roller coasters and being silly… all closely linked with how we enjoyed to play as a child.
What play lit you up as a child? What did you love to do when you were little?
Animals and kids are so much better at play then us… what can we learn from them?
When I looked at my play list I noticed it was all about connection…
- Connection to my physical self
- Connection to my creative self
- Connection to nature
- Connection to others
all of which take me out of my head… which is perhaps why Dr Stuart Brown says “play is the opposite of depression” because without play we’re disconnected from our bodies, our feelings, from nature… from our innate nature…
There are links between play and rest; play and learning; play and problem solving; play and connection to others; play and growth… and of course we don’t need to make our play productive… there’s play for play’s sake… for the pure unadulterated joy of play!
What benefits do you think more play would bring to your life?
Having explored play this month it’s made me realise that I embrace play so much more than I did 5 or 10 years ago… but then perhaps I’ve structured life in a way to allow more play… outgoings are lower; the need to work is less; I’ve got over having to work all the time to assuage my ‘not good enough’ false beliefs; I recognise the essential value of play… Don’t get me wrong the productivity gremlin still regularly raises its head but it doesn’t shout anywhere near as loudly as it used to!
So, I’m NOT going to leave you with a play challenge… look where that got us already this month (see Jen’s “Jo’s Play Challenge Totally Triggered Me…” post) but I am going to leave you with a couple more questions…
Suppose play was the only thing on your agenda for tomorrow… what would you allow yourself to do?
Without needing to build in extra time for play (let’s not add to the already burgeoning task list)… how can you bring a little bit more playfulness into everyday work and life?
And don’t forget if you want to explore more… we’re here… Jo & Jen x