When did we stop playing? Most of us grew up as young adults, taking on responsibilities from our earliest memories. Well, in a world packed with duties, obligations, and increasing expectations it is time to get real about play.
As human, and as adults, we cannot keep extending our lifespan without considering how we engage life. Bringing play to our lives is a seductive and exciting way to presence our passion for life.
What is Play?
How many of us are having a hard time with a conversation about play as adults. This will require transforming our notion of play. The notion of adult play pits two important currents of life, as represented by Greek mythology: The Dionysian or mischievous, ecstatic, and the Apollonian, or rational and sensible.
Most Americans cannot fathom combining these two currents. Instead, we’ve chosen our Apollonian side. As Nietzche foretold, Western civilization’s repression of its Dionysian side comes at great cost. We’ve forgotten how to play: to experiment, to ask why not, to push our edges, and to try on new things for no practical reason, other than to experience them.
By our mid-thirties it seems we inherit a narrative, path, and destination. We get married, begin families, and/or plow into our careers. Responsibility is confused with seriousness, which seems essential to bring us wealth, and success. Play, on the other hand, simply gets in the way. Uninterrupted, we find ourselves hard pressed to experience fun as we approach retirement. Stop! Break this pattern Now!
Finding ways to bring play to our lives involves giving up certain beliefs.1. Give up how things are supposed to be.
Any time you sense that things should be a certain way. Stop, pause, and consider that this is an assumption, interpretation and belief from your past – from a time that simply no longer exists. Your intention, not your past, is the best predictor of what occurs in this moment. Be here, now, today!2. Give up having to know.
Having to know all possible outcomes before acting, circumvents the possibility of experiencing the unpredictable, where fun and play live. Paradoxically, the very excitement, and energy that causes fun, springs from our capacity to engage the unknown. Replace the need to know with bewilderment and curiosity. Experiment, disrupt old patterns, see what’s possible. Learn about yourself!3. Mix and match things.
Combine rituals and routines to disrupt old patterns. Add a little wine, hot tea or hot cider, and perhaps a little music or scented candle to balancing your checkbook. Figure out what you enjoy, what inspires you, what stimulates you, and use it to reinvent current routines.4. Lighten up!
Notice your level of significance. Significance occurs in making everything so damn meaningful that we lose ourselves in our thoughts about an event; rather than simply dwelling in the experience of each event. We are too significant when we can no longer laugh at ourselves. In that moment, lighten up.
Listen, regardless of what’s occurring around us, we can always choose how to interpret circumstances, and how to act. As we approach springtime, choose to bring fun, ease and play to more aspects of your life. Your spouse, partner, friends and family will be forever grateful!
Labels: Tony Zampella, Transformational Thinking