Nurturing Playfulness

 

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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

 

Playfulness is about exploring and doing things that are all about pleasure - doing what you do for the sheer delight you receive in doing it. There is no ‘have to’ or ‘should’ in playfulness.

The benefits of listening to what makes your heart sing, connecting to the playfulness within, are many.

Relaxation, spontaneity, and a sense of 'letting go' in the playful moments of your life - all are fertile ground for inspiration and creativity along with your happy heart.

Parts of you that you may not know as yet awaken in a fresh way. Stress decreases, connection with those around you naturally deepens, and the room lights up along with your heart.

For myself, I am so grateful for what the Arts - film, music, song, dance, paintings, sculpture, documentaries, wonderful food, decorating, and so much more - bring into my life. All that is a creative, unique, and joyful expression of body, mind, and spirit sparks the joy that is within me.

When you have a playful attitude, you bring a sense of ease and fun to all that you do. Even what appears like hard work has a different feeling when it’s rooted in play.

Years ago I had a wonderful friend, Stella, who died young of cancer. What I most remember about her is that she laughed and played in every situation, particularly with her sister who was her closest friend. They would clean houses together to send their children to college and their fun while doing this was contagious. Emerging from a tough childhood, her sense of play created an adult life that was filled with love and joy.

With playfulness, life lightens up. A childhood innocence emerges. We are present. We get that life is a ride with its ups and downs, and we are able to put it all in perspective. Think of the Dalai Lama who has this playful, innocent quality that arises from his connection to limitlessness.

The mind can get so serious. "You have to be responsible". "You have to do it right". "You have to get things done". "You have to earn your way".  All these messages and more take us away from playfulness - a quality that is so rich and worthy of our attention and honoring.

“The moment you start seeing life as non-serious, a playfulness, all the burden on your heart disappears. All the fear of death, of life, of love - everything disappears.” Osho

When we really get this in our hearts, life gives us more and more opportunities to truly play and celebrate the joy of being alive.

Practice:

Dance. Alone or with someone else. Simply dance. Let your body move in any way it wants to without the mind controlling it. Without a care of what others might think.

In other words, let loose and be silly.

Then take a moment to stop and really check in with what is happening in the body, in the heart, in the breath. Deeply listen to your heart sing.

Welcome it all with open arms.

And dance some more...

Happy playing!