Play Value #1 ~ Permission
To truly enjoy the playground of life, the first place to start is giving yourself permission to be playful. Permission is an affirmation that it is safe for our inner child to come out and play. For many of us this was not the case growing up, and so the path of remembering to play may not be easy at first. Compounded with many years of being a serious adult with responsibilities, it’s no wonder play has lost its place in our heart. But it’s still there, and with our permission we can allow our inner child to have a voice once again.
Play Value #2 ~ Presence
Play is a practice of being present. Have you ever noticed how engaged children are in their play? Twirling around lamp posts on the street, looking under rocks on the beach, colouring their favourite colour books. They are alive in the moment, in touch fully with their surroundings, and I’m pretty sure without any thoughts of what to cook for dinner or what bills to pay. Play brings us back to this moment, and back to our Self.
Play Value #3 ~ Joy & Fun
Joy is the essence of who we are. Even if we have forgotten, joy is still there within all of us. Play is a safe and simple way we can return to our joyful Self and celebrate it with the world. When we fully express our joyful Self we have the most fun!
Play Value #4 ~ Laughter
Laughter expands energy in the body, reduces blood pressure, improves our immune system and brain functioning, and reduces stress. It helps us to hold ourselves lightly, relax from doing things the “right” way, and find humor in our short-comings. So build your sandcastles to the stars and laugh as the tides wash them away.
Play Value # 5 ~ Imagination
When you were young your imagination took you on wild adventures. The sky was the limit as you rode on daily adventures into the unreasonable. Allow yourself to imagine daily. Let it take you to new possibilities where your mind is set free. For when you play, anything imagined can be achieved!
Play Value #7 ~ Creativity
Play leads you directly to your creative potential. Even if you are not looking for creative inspiration you may be surprised to see that some of your best ideas sneak up on you when you are just out enjoying yourself. Play opens your mind so that you don’t have to look for ideas…they come to you!
Play Value #8 ~ Flow
To the degree that you let go, you will enjoy play and its possibilities. Letting go releases you from the burden of control and opens you to a flow of creative potential that exists beyond your fixed plans and agendas. Play invites you to ride freely down the river of life where mystery and adventure await!
Play Value #9 ~ Trust
Play is a safe way we can learn to trust each other and ourselves. The light nature of play creates comfort in expressing parts of ourselves we don’t normally share. And in the true Yes And nature of play, our feelings, thoughts and ideas are more easily welcomed by others.
Play Value #10 ~ Silliness
Isn’t it fun to be silly? It has a childlike quality about it that dissolves seriousness and opens us to innocence and vulnerability. Inject silliness into your play and you’ll soon discover that saying “Silly me!” is a good thing!
Play Value #11 ~ Spontaneity
In spontaneity there is freedom – freedom not to think, to sound smart, to get it right or to receive approval. It is the freedom to express what wants to be expressed in any given moment. No longer are you responding to life through a pre-set routine. You are participating afresh and alive, dancing in the moment and recreating yourself anew at every turn.
Play Value #11 ~ Connection & Equality
When we play we connect with our spirit and feel a part of something much bigger than our individual Self. We feel Life’s presence and possibilities surrounding us, and our interconnection with humanity as a whole. Play is the great equalizer. When everyone plays fully, all roles and hierarchies dissolve. We see each other more clearly and realize we are more alike than we’ll ever know.
Play Value #12 ~ Curiosity & Wonder
So, did curiosity really kill the cat? Or did we kill curiosity? Despite this myth, curiosity lives within all of us. As children we are very curious seeing everything with innocence and fresh eyes. Play reconnects us to the humility, joy and wonder of not knowing, where we discover more possibilities in the question than the answer. In the process we discover a world within each of us that is both unbounded and inspiring.
Play Value #13 ~ Learning
Play is one of the best ways to learn about ourselves, each other and life. In its truest form, play creates a safe place for people to connect, share ideas and scribble outside the lines. People are more likely to try new things, especially when they know the process of engagement is equally if not more important than the outcome.
Play Value #14 ~ Awareness & Growth
Play is a safe way to explore and embrace all aspects of our Self, the light and the dark. Instead of judging them, we celebrate them as part of our inherent wholeness. We see that the light is needed just as much as the dark. Like a painting, the contrast between the two is necessary to create the depth and beauty within each of us.
* * *
Check out Vince’s book: Let the Fire Burn ~ Nurturing the Creative Spirit of Children, A Children’s Book for Adults