What is play? A classic definition is to engage in recreation or amusement that relaxes or refreshes the body and mind. With one small caveat, it must come from the heart.
We need play because life is serious. It helps create balance and is different than just having fun. In play, we lose ourselves. We get a break from our ego by surrending to joy.
As OC Wincott said, “Play is a creative state of withdrawal from every day life.” No work and no responsibility – now that’s my kind of play. Yet play can also be built into what is required of us daily. It starts by creating a feeling of appreciation for what you have.
On the other hand, maybe we should be less concerned about what play is and focus instead on whether we get enough? As Ovid said, “In our play we reveal what kind of person we really are.” What if the real question at the end of life is, “Did you have fun?”
According to Wyatt Runyan, “We don’t stop playing because we got old, we grow old because we stop playing.” Responsibility and commitment weigh us down. What little time we do have is often spent numbing out in front of the computer or television. Well, that’s just second-rate fun – at best.
In order to find the kind of play that unlocks the magic in our hearts, we have to become unflinchingly honest with ourselves and look at where and how we spend our time to get the health and joy we so richly deserve. Unless we are willing to look at our “shoulds,” we will never hear what we honestly would like to do or make the time do it.
This holiday, give yourself a true gift. Take a moment to reflect on what brings you joy. Think back to a time when you had less to do and more time to do it. Then let that memory guide back to your heart.