Thursday, June 18, 2009

Permission to Play

When was the last time you played? Laughed from your belly? Lost track of time you were so engaged in what you were doing?

I realized recently that I have withheld play and recreation from myself because early on I learned that work comes first. Play was a reward that was to be entered into only AFTER that work was completed….and completed well. Oh boy. What a burden to carry! And I know I am not alone! How many of us wait to complete our work before we play? How many of us play before our work is done and then don’t enjoy it because we feel guilty?

Here’s another discovery: play is as necessary to the creative and work process as is the work itself. Maybe even more so. Without play, work becomes drudgery, it becomes harder to do, we have less inspiration, and we often become stuck. Play opens up those creative circuits and allows our energy to come forward and fuel us. If those circuits of energy and inspiration are either shut down completely or closed off to a large degree, work is just work. It is not inspired, inspirited, fun, or filling.

These discoveries are not all that amazing but what is amazing is that I am so old before I discover this! I happened to take a teleseminar this spring from Sandy Nelson and Kay Hunt on bringing play into our lives in simple ways. We learned many ways of playing with everyday items like push pins, toilet paper rolls, paper clips, binder clips, water bottles….etc. If you have found yourself stuck lately and want to learn more about playing, check out their website: . They just finished a class but if you contact them you will be able to get on their list for the next fun round of classes!

And if you just can’t wait for a class, pull out a sheet of paper, pick up a crayon, marker, pencil or something and just doodle. Make shapes, designs, sketch, doodle. Have fun. Then add more color. Remember you are playing, not creating a masterpiece. Who cares about perfection? Who cares about anything other than the process! Just have fun! No one else need ever see it. There is no judgement here and no reason for creating other than the sheer pleasure of seeing the pencil glide across the paper, and then the color fill up the page. Just enjoy!

Let me know how it goes for you!


  1. Oh, yes, we are on the same page about uncovering our patterns that keep us from Joy. This weekend at the Summer Solstice I hope to draw mandalas and play with art a bit. Even sing and twirl a bit. Should be fun! It's funny how sometimes our blog posts mirror what our heart friends are posting on too! Hugs.

  2. I love how we are so in tune together, Jan! I am also going to draw mandalas this weekend! Got my crayons and markers ready! Twirling maybe not but skipping a definite possibility! Happy summer solstice!

  3. It's true, isn't it, how we become so darn serious as adults. I find that making art is really playful for me and I love it! Plus, our dog really helps us with our daily dose of play and laughter! Here's to having fun!! :) Silke

  4. Dogs and other pets are great for daily laughter! And art is a GREAT outlet! Even for non-artists like myself! I just love to play with color! Yes, Silke, here's to having fun! xo

  5. As an artist I play all the time, that is when I am not taking my art too seriously, which is deadly :-). Running is also play for me, I feel like a kid as I fly down the road :-). And lately I like to spin :-). I have one cat who makes me laugh out loud at least 5 times a day.

  6. I agree with you and Silke about pets. My cat brings out the play in me at random times. If I have a small piece of paper to toss for her, a piece of string, an opened grocery bag set on the floor. She's always game for a few minutes of fun, followed of course by a deep nap. Oh what we can learn from our animals!

  7. Annie, sounds as if you have your whole life arranged so that it is joyful! Good job!

    Joanne, we really CAN learn so much about life from our animals. Think how easily and quickly they can shift from serious to play! Our cat LOVES those plastic rings from bottles of juice, milk, tea, whatever. He will play with one for hours! Then go back to his nap! Whadda life!

  8. So true!! Thanks for the reminder!!! :)

  9. Hi Diantha,

    I was thinking about you this morning. *smile* I'll get to that in a minute.

    Play. I'm big on play and self-care, although I don't always make the time for it. Years ago I bought myself a colouring book, a Cinderella colouring book to be exact, and some Crayola crayons. I keep it in my desk drawer at home and every once in a while, I'll put it out and just sit and colour. It's amazingly relaxing and cathartic. Brings my heart rate right down and feels creative. So simple. I haven't done it in a while. I think I'll pull that out again. :o)

    Work, my day to day obligation, is feeling less fun lately. It's all work and no play and it's sucking the joy out of me like a vacuum. I'm not sure what to do about that, but I'm going to have to come up with something or I'll wither on the vine.

    Back to my original thought...I was thinking about what I was going to work...this morning and my thoughts went to all the black I have in my closet. I thought how so many of us wear so much black and I wondered what you'd have to say about the colour (or lack of colour) and why so many of us reach for that as a default.

    Happy Friday!

  10. Laura Rose, thanks for stopping by. I hope you are playing right now! <;-)

    You always put such thought into your comments! I too have a coloring book and crayons on my desk! It's a mandala coloring book by Linda Wiggin Kraft which is on Amazon and I LOVE it! You are right...we can get lost in the color and the movement of putting color to paper.

    As for black, I think it is a very easy color to use. I wear a lot of black myself as a background color. In the cold months I almost always wear either jeans or black pants with a bright colored sweater or scarf. In the summer my colors are brighter and more varied but in winter I just love to wear plain black with splashes of color. It makes me feel good.

    So my question to you is, does the black make you feel good? Are you inclined to add color or not? And since you were dressing for work, we often do wear a lot of black/neutral colors in the workplace. Neutrals are easy to wear, and to accessorize and they allow us to be part of the group. But I would pay attention to how the black makes you feel. If you feel good wearing it, keep it up! You can always add color through your accessories. But if it is making you question whether to wear it or not, try finding another color to act as your neutral.

    Actually, almost any color will do. When I was going through my "purple period", I had a dark purple suit, a dark purple suede jacket, and a few purple print dresses (very subtle patterns) that I wore to work in Chicago. They all worked together and because the purple was quite dark, I could wear other colors with it that looked smashing. So during that time period dark purple was my neutral!

    This is getting to be a long winded answer so I will stop here but if you have more questions about this, email me and we'll chat on that venue. Hope this helps!

  11. Funny you should ask Diantha. I've been in play-mode for the past three days.

    I juggled blog backgrounds, played blog dress-up and basked in the sunshine of a new and exciting look while reading comments from my cherished blogging friends.

  12. Hi Cheryl! Sounds as if you are having fun! That is great! I love the new blog background! It really is so you!

  13. When I am an old woman, I shall wear Purple playclothes! Thanks for another great post, Diantha!

  14. And I will be right there with you! Here's to having a lot of colorful fun! xo


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