inspiration, self help

The Art of Play

When you get older, your childhood becomes more and more distant until one day you forget. You forget what it was like to be a child. You may remember being young but you forget what it was like to be a child. Which, is nothing short of a travesty. You don’t forget because you choose to. You forget because you are conditioned to. From the first day you are presented with adult problems you are forced to grow up. For many this is the transition from one school to another, for some it is a challenging life event that comes too soon.

Whatever the reason it is not too late to recapture that lost youth, that lost child. We can play, and we can enjoy it. The question is – How do you play again?

On the day you are born you are told how to think. You are told what to believe. It is the rule makers,the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the religious authorities that try to form in your mind their vision of life. You know what it worked. But, it is time to move forward, time to let go of their vision, their dream of reality. You can start by playing.

Playing doesn’t have to be hard, and if it is you are probably worried about that perceived view of reality in your mind.

Let Go.
To start you must let go, you must for a moment or two, forget you are an adult. Set aside your responsibilities. Look at the world around you for the first time. Really, stop reading this and look up. Look at everything around you. Look near and look far. What do you see? Now think about what it would be like if everything you have been told didn’t matter. Look again. What do you see?

You know what you are supposed to be doing because you do it. Now what if you didn’t know about the world around you. Children learn by doing, by exploring. When we have explored and tried enough times, we form ideas of how things are “Supposed to work”. We work with minimal information based on lessons we’ve learned previously. Only when we can see our surroundings with a new light can we begin to re-imagine.

Get up and walk over to something, anything, it can be a chair, a television, a drinking glass, anything. Now interact, if it is a glass of water play with the water. Pour it out study it, notice how it feels on your skin, give yourself permission to learn again. Give yourself permission to just be in the moment. Only when we are ready to let our inhibitions go are we free to interact with the world without judgement.

I am sure you may be feeling self-conscious right now but if you did what I suggested above then you are ready to play.

Pick a medium it can be pen, paper, markers, blocks, needle, thread, clay, paint. With your chosen medium find a space where you will be uninterrupted. Then just start creating. You can do whatever you think of. If you have blocks build a tower, an airplane, a wall. If you have paper and pen start writing, or drawing. Allow yourself to just create, you don’t need an end goal, just a moment to scribble, stack, cut or sew.

Now destroy whatever it is you made. Knock over the tower, rip up your paper, smoosh your sculpture. Whatever you did undo it. Don’t just undo it because you have to do it because it’s fun. Without an end there can be no beginning.

If you have done all of the things above then you are ready to play. Let go of your inhibitions, let go of all those things you’ve been told you should or shouldn’t do and go into the world and have fun. Run outside, jump up and down. Do things that make no sense but are just enjoyable. Be a child. Children are always running, jumping, picking things up, dropping them, stacking and knocking over. They don’t know what the world wants of them so they try everything. They learn what happens when you knock over a stack of bricks. They learn what happens when you scribble on paper.

Children learn to make a mark, they learn to leave an impression. Then somewhere along the way they forget, and they are told not to pour water on the floor, or draw on the walls. They are taught how to act to fit in to our collective view of reality. Then time goes by and they forget that they can have fun with the simplest of things. That is our gift. We can make something of nothing, we can enjoy or hate the simplest of things.

One person can change the world. You can alter the course of human history, you just need to be mindful, and not let those inhibitions stop you. Bring joy and happiness to yourself, bring joy and happiness to the world. The universe has been waiting for you to start fulfilling your divine purpose. Now, forget what you’ve been told and play!

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