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I Am Play

posted Aug 15, 2014, 8:07 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 8:07 AM ]
Isn't it interesting that as children, we learned through play.  We played with dolls and learned how to take care of.  We played with blocks and learned to build.  We played with each other and learned how to resolve fights, negotiate and share.  So why as adults do we have so little regard for play?

In Day 5 of my meditation, the centering thought is I am play.  I must admit, I didn't associate play with meditation.  I was quite puzzled to be honest.  Now, how is Deepak going to lead meditation on play, I thought with amusement.  He did it the same  The same soothing voice. 

Of all the meditations, this was the one most awkward.  In fact, as I got into my meditative pose and tried to center on the Sanskrit for play, Lila Hum, my mind wandered like crazy.  It just felt plain weird.  I felt like I should have been dancing or singing or moving instead of being still.  Now, I understand why.  When your spirit wants to play, you don't sit still and repeat mantras.  (Note to self:  I need to write Oprah and Deepak about that)

A light bulb went off for me, just the same.  If you are doing what you love to do, I bet you can trace it back to something you loved to do as a child.  I recruited my little sister in everything that I did.  We drew pictures together.  We sang together.  We played together.  Everything I did, I involved - okay bullied - my sister into doing.  I played the piano by ear, so my little sister had to play by ear too.  I learned to read.  First thing I did was require that my little sister put her nose into a book whether she wanted to or not.  Little did I know that my play would express itself again in my adult life.  That teacher thing from my childhood is so evident in how I write and how I coach.  There is a lesson or some insight shared.  I bring illumination.  That is what I did as a child and that is what I do as an adult.   

As a child, I would draw for hours and lose track of time.  As an adult, I write for hours and lose track of time. 

Another light bulb moment was while I was completing my online journal.  It's a journal where you're asked questions about your meditative experience.  One of the questions examined feelings of guilt and self-criticism that rob us of our playful spirit.  First thing that came to my mind was my own disparity between work and play.  I was taught that play was a misuse of time that could be spent putting food on the table, going to church or helping others in need.  I now understand why there is always conflict.  When I'm playing, I feel like I should be working.  When I am working, I long to be playing. 

This was the light bulb.  One should not require the absence of the other.  Broker a deal!

When I'd play with the neighborhood kids, we had to decide on what game we were going to play, the rules and who was going to do what.  Someone had to set it up.  We had to choose teams.  We had to take turns.  We had to resolve squabbles.  It was all part of play.  Without it, there was no enjoyment.  Every rule, guideline, negotiation was so we could do what we wanted to do more than anything else in the world!  Play!!  Play was at the center of our minds, so we did whatever it took so that we could play.  Likewise, I am play.  So it is of necessity for everything inside of me to work together so that I can play.  Hence, work and play have to broker a deal.  We have to negotiate terms.  We have to bring a spirit of cooperation else they'll be in competition.  Where there is competition, there is no play.  There is no creativity.  There is no laughter.  There is no fun!  

Wow!  Because I am bliss, because I am filled with spirit, because I am peace, because I am love, it is essential that I respect the fact that I am play.  Without play there is no bliss.  Without play there is no fullness of spirit.  Without play, there is no peace.  Without play, there is no love.  Without play, what's left is oppression, suppression and ultimately depression.  

With the shocking death of Robin Williams, it seems that what I am saying is a contradiction.  He died of depression though he was revered as a comedian.  He brought laughter and fun to whatever he did and to whomever he was with, but silently he was battling drug addiction, depression and more recent revelations were of Parkinson's Disease.  Though his life was not wasted not in the least--he certainly served his purpose well--why didn't the love and laughter he brought to so many heal his own brokenness? 

I am not going to try to make his illness about play.  That would be arrogant of me. What I will say is bipolar depression is real.  There are high high's and crashing low's.  And if anyone reading this blog is given to emotional extremes, I urge you to go see a doctor.  There is no shame unless it goes untreated. 

I digress.  What I can speak about is me.  Play keeps my heart open.  Play keeps my spirit willing.  Play is what makes me manage my life.  Play is what makes me wake up every morning excited about my day.  I get to play!  I am not alone.  By virtue that most people who work live for the weekend, there is a shared inherentness in each of us to play.  We hate Mondays because we have to go back to work.  There is constant tension because we long for play.  How do we regret-proof our lives?  Play!  How do we stay connected to the ones we love?  Play!  How do we look forward to each day?  Play!  Play is letting go of the weight and choosing to abide in joy.  I am play.  Maya Angelou puts it this way.  "At the end of the day, people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel."