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The Power of Play

”You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Unknown

            As spring approaches and everything begins to come to life, we become more active and with more activity comes the opportunity for more play.  Play is not only universal across cultures and time, it is essential to well being.  It is not just essential to our own well being, but the well being of our relationships.  As adults, it can be easy to forget our own playfulness as we get consumed with our responsibilities and goals that we want to accomplish.  I have always found that establishing a good balance of being responsibly driven and brazenly playful has indeed helped my life to be filled with joy and creativity.  There is so much you can learn about yourself and others through the act of play.  Either having or cultivating the ability to play keeps us from taking life so seriously and allows us to venture into that timeless realm that children can access so easily.

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For myself, there has always been a bit of a mischievous prankster, a jokester, a jester, a fool on the inside.  Out of this though, has been born much wisdom and understanding.  My endless curiosity has led me down many paths only to see how so many are interconnected.  As an adult, I still have a playful spirit.  Some of my playful outlets have remained the same and many have changed.  Many of my outlets used to be competitive sports, but these days I find much more enjoyment in activities that bring me into the expanse of Nature or into a yoga studio where I face myself, disciplining my mind and my body.  These are forms of exercise, and exercise can be playful.  I like things that exercise my body and allow me to have a riotously good time, as well.  This can be any type of activity really, but what is really needed is for one to be able to have or develop the ability to laugh at one’s Self.  We are human, we are silly, we are freaking hilarious…every thing about us, from our hang-ups and control issues to our individual idiosyncrasies.

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How can we begin to play as adults? First things first, learn to laugh at your self.  If you cannot laugh at yourself, you may be in a bit of a bind, and I would recommend you attend some play therapy, or invite some of your old college buddies over to remind you how it is done.

 

Seriously though (well, not too seriously), there are so many ways to play throughout your day.  Playfulness, vitality, and laughter go hand in hand.  What is it that makes you laugh out loud, makes you feel alive, brings you joy, moves you into that timeless realm, or all of the above?

 

I encourage you to make a list of answers to these questions and try doing at least one of them today.  If you have kids, you could also put down whatever it is you are doing and immerse yourself completely in their world for a spell, and let them direct the fun and imagination.  If you have a spouse or partner, do some detective work and find out how they like to play or what makes them laugh and go have some fun!

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The idea of play is unique to each individual, but laughter is universal.  There is nothing quite like a nice guttural laugh to revitalize and reinvigorate you and your day.  Take a moment to be silly or find the perfect April Fool’s joke, since that is right around the corner.  Most importantly, learn to laugh at yourself and you may just find some wisdom in your own foibles.