And no, it is not all in the genes. And no, it doesn’t all boil down to money or means. Or education, or opportunities.
No, the biggest unfair advantage is… whether you were allowed to play or not.
The difference between play and playful?
One of my students writes:
Sophie, thank you so much for writing that article. That is exactly what’s missing for me. The playfulness.
When I think of it, it takes me to when I was a girl. everything I did was an imaginary wonderland. Cleaning floors I imagined myself as fairy shining floors with her magic hands in my princess land.
When I swept our huge backyard I imagined it was my castle hidden in the woods and i would sweep under the trees and imagine those were rooms. Lol. And almost everything i did from climbing trees to climbing on the roof was imaginary play. It was fun. I somehow forgotten it and replaced it with a rigid todo list.
Also I thought of how I always have a list for what a guy I want to be with. A list of what he should be. Haha… So if he is not that than it’s wrong. I am laughing thinking about it. Maybe it’s being playful everywhere… relationships, work, yard work, cleaning, sex, cooking, …. I am trying playfulness on.
She played. She turned everything to play when she was a child. But was it playfulness? Maybe… We shall see from her results, but I think it was serious play.
But let’s consider that you don’t know what play is. Or how important play was for your evolution, how important play is for the evolution of your child, and for his preparation for life. For life that requires emotional maturity and lots of adaptation skills to be happy and well adjusted.
In fact the earlier you force children to do what others designed for them to do, the less your child learns and grows into an adult… maybe ever.
Play, when adults deprive the child of play, is the crucial cause whey the child has no ability to cope with life, to cope with hardship, cope with the challenges life presents.
When parents deprive the child of ACTIVE play, where they generate the play… but instead addict them to passive entertainment, like television, or computer games, the result is a person who has the body of an adult but the undeveloped brain of a child… having their hands out begging.
When I look at my students, I can tell much about their childhood time, how much they played, and how much they were given tasks or entertainment, second hand.
The more time and the more VARIED opportunities you had for play the more you have access to your adult capacities today. And the higher your ‘tiger dream’ score is… and faster.
Playful is an artificial way of being… making airs.
A child is almost never playful. They are either serious, or they are playing.
One of my students suggested that playful is the way to keep the ‘nothing wrong/nothing missing’ capacity on after I turn it on in the DNA.
Playful is an attitude…
…on the top of what you really are inside… angry, bored, bossy, domineering. You need playful to feel socially acceptable.
Funny is also an attitude…
…on the top of deep deep sadness, resignation, maybe even depression.
Just watch some of our funnymen… that is their public persona… fake as a 3-dollar bill. Authenticity?
When someone laughs, you can tell, I can tell if joy is bubbling up, or if it is like fizzy water, the bubbles are added for effect.
Yesterday’s quote, that when you play you learn nine times faster than if you dutifully repeat actions so you learn is true… but utterly untrue when you try to be playful.
No, you need to invent play!
So how do you play if your body is an adult?
I googled, and now I see what is happening…
Not so. Children don’t play for fun, they play because there is an inner urge to explore, express, compete, and grow.
None of these is inherently fun.
I swam, competed on the uneven bars (gymnastics), did pantomime, climbed trees, climbed fences, distance peed, sat on the handlebar of bicycles, scooters, ran like crazy on long stairs, slid on the balustrades, ran ran ran, chased, was chased…
Played on my violin, played on my guitar, played with balls, played with blocks of wood, sticks of wood…
I went to school when I was seven years old. I didn’t know even one letter of the alphabet.
Kindergartens in Hungary at the time were play places… not like I hear today… schools.
When I finally got to school, it was a treat.
I engaged in serious play. Laughing, fun-fun was optional.
So when I came to the United States, at age 38, I was puzzled by everyone’s DEMAND of their lives to have fun. I didn’t know what fun was, because what Americans call fun is all that laughing, giggling… not serious, not constructive, is to avoid, escape life.
So one way to cause play is to challenge yourself. Do the things you already do in a fun way. Run, walk, do things faster… more coordinated, more clever, more organized… it is all challenge, and it is play. fun fun fun.
I am still increasing the number of minutes I can keep my attention on something… I am still increasing the number of minutes I can lie motionless… I increase the number of birds I recognize and can name.
Challenge. That is one type of game you can play.
Another game is to play with your voice, with your face. Serious fun.
I exercise and return my body to flexibly, by playing with the weights, with the movements, with my body. Fun.
Sometimes I notice that other people don’t like to play… and I feel out of place. But that doesn’t stop me…
You can do the hammer exercise as play… I do… although I must confess, I haven’t done it in a while.
But I have been playing with my handwriting… that is play too.
What is the opposite, the killer of play? Anything that has having to, needing to, wanting to, and should.
So I don’t do those.
If an action would come from either of those, I wait. I wait until I am coherent again, and can play.
Experimentation is also play. So I experiment on giving remote energy healing, and make it effective, and not as painful as it is when it is a ‘have to’.
I consciously remove dutifulness from my life… Dutifulness means dullness… the opposite of play.
Play is always fresh. never dull. Not ever. Maybe painful, but not dull. My legs hurt… so walking, climbing the steps, climbing the hill are painful but not dull. And when I sit on the steps before I can climb the steps to my upstairs apartment, I am both hurting and feel a win…
I did it!
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia threaten people who don’t challenge themselves, who don’t play.
Play keeps your brain plastic, young, and vibrant. The same old same old ages your brain and makes it brittle and rigid…
I got myself a new exercise regimen, called One and done…
It is a series of seven minute exercises, 20 seconds fast, intense, followed by two minutes of cooling off exercise, three times… thus seven minutes.
Unfortunately they don’t have an affiliate program, so I can’t make money with my recommendation. The program is $29, and you can consider it play… seven minutes…
The question I am expecting is this:
Well I have a secret for you. You won’t, you can’t, and even if you can, it won’t be really play.
Switching mindset in the middle of a busy day is near impossible.
Instead what you will need to do is create a new ‘context’, a new organizing principle for your life that makes LIFE play…
It sounds elegant, but don’t be mistaken.
You can’t just create a mantra: my life is play… and expect it to change anything…
The SCIENCE of creating a new operating principle is ‘build down so you can build up.’
I teach it in the Instant Coherence Solution workshop.
The workshop has five recorded sessions, and then one live one.
You can buy them all at once, or you can test-drive the recorded sessions, and if you see the need, buy the live session.
Some people are trained enough to do the work unsupervised, but not many.
So the benefit of having a live session is the supervision. The hands-on help… in both phases of the work, the building down and the building up.
Intrigued enough? Here is your righteous buy button. Make it your PLAY practice for the next few days.
Go to the next step
In societies where the emphasis is not on living well, but on winning, there is no more play… and people are, ahem, stupid, unfulfilled, and forever children.