“The one thing that nobody else has is you, your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” Neil Gaiman
What is your favorite way to play? Is play a regular part of your life? How does it make you feel?
I love to play with words! Crossword puzzles delight me and I do one every morning even when I need to get help from my husband whose broad vocabulary includes sports terms I’ve never known. Sports have never interested me except for gymnastic events.
About once a week I lure my husband into playing Scrabble with me. Even if he didn’t play with me, I’d probably just play with myself because the challenge of trying to create the word combination with the most points is fun. It’s a great distraction from ordinary daily activity.
Reading and Writing Create New Experiences
But the ultimate word game is writing. Of course, it is about much more, but at a creative level each word counts more than in Scrabble. My word choice describes an action, a thought, an emotion or physical aspect of a person or place. One word can bring a scene or character to life.
During this quarantine, I’m especially grateful that I love to read and write because there is little I can do away from home. While I can’t play with the words I read, I often admire the way an author uses them to create images and actions that draw the reader into the story. Reading also makes me think and there’s plenty of time for that – to allow my mind to wander and explore the best solution for a challenge in my life.
Exploring Ways to Play
As adults it’s not unusual for us to have forgotten how to play unless we have children who will be only too happy to demonstrate for us. For those of us without young children, we have to find our own ways to play in order to lighten our mood and give us joy.
Where I live we can hike or drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway although it is sometimes crowded and hard to find a safe place to get out. We also have three small lakes nearby to walk around and watch the ducks and geese. Near us is a golf course where people play, keeping their distance. Walking in the neighborhood with plenty of trees and dogs is very pleasant.
Playing Together On The Internet
I’m grateful for Zoom because it allows us to see others at meetings or book groups even when they are states or countries away. If the time conflicts with dinner, we can still attend the event, eat, and participate at the same time. This can also be helpful for parents who have to stay at home to watch their kids.
While I’m not always happy with Facebook, it is another way to play with life. I am grateful because it allows me to see photos and videos of my grandnieces and grandnephews playing sports or cheering. Friends make me laugh with their posts of amusing animal photos or humorous quotes or cartoons. Others love the outdoors and share sunsets over the mountains, paths through the forest, and brightly-colored flowers and leaves. Song writers even post their latest compositions or even offer a concert on line.
Playing With Inner Peace
While it is important to find ways to play when life is so restricted, there is also a need to play with inner peace. None of us remain happy all the time, but how we interpret any experience is affected by our mental and emotional condition. When we do activities that we consider fun, the positive energy uplifts us. But there are times when we do not find an experience to be fun because our negative mental energy pulls us down. When that happens, we need to take the time to “play” with our minds by sitting quietly in a meditative way, take a deep breath and exhale, letting the negative energy leave us.
What we feel at this time may be a form of anger, depression, or boredom, but at the core of all negative emotions is fear. Sit quietly and see yourself surrounded with light. As you inhale, breath the light into your body and on the exhale allow the darkness of your negative thoughts to leave your body. If you are feeling many different things, focus on one at a time until you feel it release.
When we are able to spend some time in this peaceful place, we are more able to “play” with the restrictions of our lives. With time and practice, this experience of meditation can bring us the peace to experience life in a more positive way. Wishing you a safe, joyful, and playful week!
© 2020 Georganne Spruce