“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein
Although I was hesitant to admit it, I was getting dull. I was dragging, tired, weighed down. I was carrying some heavy energy, speaking heavy words.
The truth was a bit hard to handle: I wasn't fun to be around. Why? Because I wasn't having fun.
& it seemed to be cyclical: I wasn't having fun, so then I'd be hard on myself for not just enjoying the moment. Then I'd get down on myself and be a grump. I was digging my own hole and couldn't climb out.
By happenstance, I stumbled upon one of my favorite people on the internet, dear Foxy/Emelie of Forbidden Life. After reading her site a hundred or so times, I decided to get an animal totem reading from her. I've been really into animals since working with Pixie Campbell and following a more shamanistic path, and wanted to see who in my totem was most prominent.
& lo and behold, who was there but sly fox?
What was fantastic about fox was that she had something to teach me. "Go out there and PLAY, woman. Stop being so damn serious!" she commanded. You see, the fox is very playful. Not only on "off-time" & weekends, but when hunting. When getting shit done. When showing love. Fox shines when she has fun. She thrives.
I wanted to thrive. So I knew what I had to do: play, damn it.
I had the pleasure of continuing my foxy journey by setting up a Skype chat with Emelie. We chatted for a bit about this aspect of fox, this importance of play. & she told me something that should have been obvious to me, but that I had overlooked: I *should* know how to play -- I work with kids, for goodness sake!
So I started to do my research: what were my students doing? What were they into? What made them shine & thrive?
& then I started copying them.
My results, I have to say, were way better than I expected.
Experiment #1: Putting things together with Washi tape
One of my students is really into washi tape. She lines her notebook pages with it. She glows when she gets a new roll. She has so much fun working with the simple act of taping things because washi tape is attractive to the eye. It looks fun. It looks playful. I was at a store getting mailing supplies for my New Moon Manifestation Crystal Spray & I spotted a washi tape display. For $2, I decided to give it a try.
Goodness was it fun. I started off with putting some on the edges of my journal pages, like my student. Then, a bit of inspiration struck: I could use washi tape on my envelopes to clients. I could decorate my notecards to them with it. I could seal the bubble wrap around my spray bottles. I COULD PUT IT AROUND MY SPRAY BOTTLE NECKS! I can not describe the fun I had with this simple act, this taping.
I promptly went on etsy to search for more patterns...& now have a fun little washi tape wish list going for packing my Full Moon Full Heart Anointing Oil...and some tapes have inspired new crystal essence blends!
Experiment numero uno was a success!
Experiment #2: Minecraft
Something happened when I turned 16 or so: I stopped playing video games. I was the only girl on my block with a gameboy, and played my fair share of Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. But then I lost interest. When I first started dating my now-husband, I pretty much refused to try playing video games with him. I wouldn't let myself have that sort of playful fun. I think it was because I felt unproductive when playing video games. For real.
Recently, a lot of my students have started to play mine craft. & they LOVE talking about it. Zombie modifications, creepers, mining emerald, making houses and getting pets.
Do you want to know what sold me? There are wolves in the game. & you can tame them. I wanted some pet wolfies!
So I told my mister: Set me up with a minecraft account. I want to play.
His jaw pretty much dropped to the floor.
So he set me up. & showed me the ropes. & we played. Here's the best part: we played TOGETHER. In minecraft, you can play with as many people as you want, as long as you're connected to one server. So he built me a house. He writes me notes on signs in the game. He made me a bed on a pedestal of pink wool. Because, I friggin' love pink. We go on fun little adventures together, killing evil spiders and gathering up treasure.
& video games are fun again.
Experiment dos: success!
Experiment #3: Dancing for no reason
Kids move without shame. They boogie. They get down. They wiggle and laugh with their mouths wide open.
I love watching them. I get a little jealous of their lack of inhibition.
But recently, I've started dancing too. I've been rocking to Le Tigre on Pandora and take dance breaks. Sometimes the mister joins me. Sometimes I'm by myself. & I've been taking ballet lessons (I danced throughout childhood and into college) for the fun of it. No pressure, no competition, no tutus (although tutus are pretty sweet!). Just for me.
Right now I'm dancing in my chair as I type.
There's a smile on my face.
Experiment tres: success!
I feel free.
I'm thriving. I'm happier. I'm lighter (& literally, too, my jeans have been fitting better lately). I can honestly say: my heart is full of joy.
The mister & I watched a fabulous movie called About Time this past weekend. In the end, the main character said something that really got to the center of my reason for play: "I just try to live every day as if I've deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life. "
So that's what I'm dedicating my play to. To play as though I could come back to this day and life it over again, because I had that much fun. Because I wanted to. Because I can make things extraordinary, even in its ordinariness, just by adding in play.
What do you do for play? How do you feel when you play? Can you commit to one (or more!) act of play today?