Fifty Shades of Play and Feeding Your Spirit

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Play has been described as “the work of childhood,” the place where the greatest learning occurs. Kids seem to instinctually know how to play. If toys aren’t available, children will transform kitchen pots into musical instruments or dandelions into craft supplies. Through the power of imagination, they can convert the boring into the magical, the waiting room into a space ship. Some of our greatest scientists and spiritual leaders are similarly playful.

As adults, we may think we’ve outgrown play – not realizing what a marvelous food it is for our spirit. One of the best ways to care for ourselves, recharge, and rest is through play. Playfulness ignites creativity, helps us avoid needless drama and gives us a sweeter perspective about our lives.

Just as when we were kids, some forms of play resonate more deeply with us. As little girls, some of us preferred arts and crafts over bike riding or hula hoops over dolls. Can you think about what kinds of play would make you feel more alive right now?

Here are some ideas about ways to play that are sure to feed your spirit, mind and body:

imagesA6W74GQQSwinging

 

How many hours did you spend as a child on a tire swing hung from the branches of a gorgeous oak tree? Perhaps, you flew through the air on a backyard swing set. Swinging is an exhilarating and inspiring way to recharge whether you’re six or sixty or more.

If you’re lucky enough to have a front porch swing, find some time to get out there and daydream. If not, be bold. Find a public park and make your way to the swings. If you prefer, go in the morning or early afternoon when kids are likely to be in school. Take a seat and get your legs moving. Remember what it felt like to be the child version of YOU. An added bonus is that swinging is great exercise!

imagesWDZRQ6H9Pretend Shopping

Shopping may provide a temporary flood of endorphins, but it might not be so good for our bank balance. One form of play that we often leave behind in childhood is “make- believe,” but there’s no reason why this form of play can’t extend into adulthood. An ordinary experience can be full of whimsy and delight.

Pretend shopping is a beautiful way to play. Try browsing window displays or scanning the websites of your favorite online retailer. Allow yourself to fantasize about buying what you’d like and be frivolous! You can even pretend shop for gifts! Playfully send a friend an email with a link to a gift you’d buy for them if your financial resources were unlimited.

images975EW3XQColoring

Remember the distinct pleasure of opening a brand new coloring book? Those clean, crisp pages and a brand new box of Crayolas promised so much possibility! As it turns out, coloring isn’t just for kids. Research shows that coloring reduces stress, stimulates creativity, and generates wellness.

How about taking a ten minute coloring break? Let your mind rest and your spirit shine as you feed your artistic side with play. There are countless coloring books for adults featuring mandalas, gardens, and even Parisian scenes. Of course, a canvas made from a blank sheet of paper always works well! The possibilities for play are endless. Regardless of what kind of play strikes your fancy, the practice will certainly feed your spirit.

How might you connect with your childlike self? If you could play right now, what would you like to do? If you decided to plan a playgroup for next weekend, who would you invite and what would the activity be? Why not?

4 Comments
  1. What a lovely reminder!We do forget to nourish the part of ourselves that is fun, creative, and a bit frivolous. When you said swinging, I had a flashback to being a kid as well as a young mom and the total joy the motion and effort brought. Nothing else existed in that moment. I have found that the hula hoop has a similar effect of bringing me into a meditative state and allowing the cares to be “hula-ed” away. Thank you for the reminder of the play way of feeding the spirit.

  2. Hulalujah! Thanks, Barbara.

  3. Hulu hooping! What a nice addition to the list! I’m tempted to build a fort right now just reading this.

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