It’s spring. Spring!
Who cares that we still have dirty snow on the ground and another Nor’easter on the way?
It’s spring! And springtime means PLAYTIME, shovel or not.
For some funny reason, our culture tells us that playing is an indulgence—unless you’re under the age of, say, 14—or in the NFL.
But it turns out, not only is play good for us, humans are actually wired for play.
In her book Deep Play, Diane Ackerman writes:
“The spirit of deep play is spontaneity, discovery, and being open to new challenges. As a result, it allows one to happily develop new skills, test one’s limits, stretch them, and then maybe refine the skills and redefine the limits.
Many species of animals play—they play at adulting, which is how they learn the skills to be an adult—before the stakes of failure are too high.
We literally play into adulthood. Play helps us evolve.”
Playing then, is nothing short of evolving ourselves.
(Pretty sure I just figured out the theory of everything. You’re welcome.)
And it never has to stop. The same holds true at 46 as it did at 6 and 96. Playing around with stuff allows us to have fun, relax, iterate, laugh at our fumbles, and enjoy the process. Because who cares? We're just playing!
Yet it’s often in these playful states that we’re the most open, joyful, and present. And when we are open and present, that is exactly when we are most likely to make inspired connections, spark new ideas, and see things from a different perspective.
Our view feels expansive rather than limited. Our energy grows larger than it felt when we were contracted and anxious.
Play is the ultimate form of creative self-empowerment.
Wow. Not bad for an hour of dancing around the living room, chasing lightning bugs, or swatting your dog’s tail.
Deep play is an even more intense form of play—the immersive type of play that allows us to connect to ourselves and to the world around us without judgment and fear. It’s full, visceral, and experiential. Think: In the zone. Flow. Transcendence.
“When one enters the realm of deep play, the sacred playground where only the present moment matters, one’s history and future vanish. One doesn’t remember one’s past needs, expectations, worries, real or imaginary sins. Being able to temporarily step outside of normal life—while keeping one’s senses alert—is indeed like being reborn.”
This is that flow state that is so intoxicating, and no wonder: As you play, you are doing nothing less than re-creating yourself.
It's like that moment in The Matrix when Neo understands everything is connected, and suddenly, it's all effortless. Bullets and bad guys slow down and he responds without fear, and with accuracy, knowing, and skill.
This state of deep play is often where we find our innate gifts.
Athletes reach the zone and they're connected to the team, to the ball, and to the field—there is nothing they are not aware of.
Artists become immersed in their creation and the work informs them even as the artist creates it.
Hiking through the woods, one sees how every pattern is repeated in everything else, the fractal bearing the genetic code of the universe.
Chances are, if you've felt this state of deep play and flow, you have a gift that got you there. Do you know what it is? If so, YES! Play with it! If not, next time you feel really alive and in the moment, take a second to think about how you got there. There's power in that path—YOUR power. Play it for all it's worth! That is your bliss.
Funny how we’ve relegated play to a “less than” level of behavior, when it can grant us the alchemical ability to elevate and evolve.
I don’t know how adulting is working out for you, but if you need a little creative empowerment and inspiration—try playing.
Love + courage,
>> Interested in playing your way to self-empowerment? Consider me your partner in cri—play :) I have two coaching slots available right now, and I'd love to see what we can imagine up together! Drop me a note!
Related content: Need more playful inspiration? Consider this life lesson from my empowerment guru: my dog.
Copyright 2018 Calee Lucht. All rights reserved.