Have you ever wondered why it feels so difficult sometimes to find joy and playfulness in your life?
I certainly have.
We live in a culture that overvalues our left brain, the rational mind and relegates the emotions to something to leave outside the workplace, something to be controlled and suppressed.
This is also the culture of Hard work, pushing through, survival mode.
As I’m writing I can feel the hard work, pushing through energy activated in me. I’m feeling that this is such a serious topic that I should think a bit more about how to formulate myself, my ideas. That excess of seriousness turns to constriction and my creativity wanes.
And as I am in the experiment of letting my creative writing find it’s expression and flow, I also remind myself that this post is about play and wouldn’t be as potent if I didn’t invite myself to be in just that energy of play.
You may be objecting “who has the time to play, really?” I certainly know that voice in myself. And the same voice continues saying “that’s not what will make a business go round”. Though I want to challenge this and invite us to look at it more closely.
We don’t need to be in a tug of war between right and left brain. They have both their place. And it is ok to let go of control and let the fingers do their thing on the keyboard. Yes I must admit that this doesn’t feel structured anymore. But how can I invite more play in my writing if I try to figure out en plan and thoroughly weight each word.
So what if play IS what will allow you to be SUSTAINABLE in your business? What if this is an essential energy to invite in our life?
But isn’t play useless and isn’t it selfish to take time for just yourself when there is so much to do and other’s needing you?
I want to you ask: “What is play?”
I will not here look at the definition in the dictionary though I feel really tempted to and drawn to do that. I might do that a bit later.
But first I want to turn inward and tune into how play feels in my body, in my being.
When I tune into the energy of play, I feel a smile, an amusement. I decide the rules, follow my joy, I feel curious about how it will turn out, I am open to try things differently and I’m less attached to the outcome than to the good feeling along the way.
Play says “what if I do so?” “Can I use this? I have never tried that before”…
The energy of play feels light, alive, receptive without taking everything on. It’s an open door to creativity, no expectations, just exploring.Olivia
And to find more joy and fulfillment in life, refocusing more on enjoying the process itself rather than achieve a specific outcome is a key ingredient.
When I focus too much on the outcome even playing boardgames looses its qualities of lightness and joy and when winning is all that matters there is a stress, a pressure that comes in to win, prove that I am smarter, stronger. Not so fun anymore.
I’ve been there a lot. And it really struck me when I observed how bad my son was feeling as he didn’t win a game when he was younger (5 to 10y old). I could feel how he took it very personally, making it mean something about his value, abilities rather than something to be taken lightly for the sake of enjoying our time together.
I came to realize that actually the only reason I played games with my kids or my family was as a way to have a good time together. So nowadays when I’m playing with my son now 15y old and when the game consistently doesn’t really work out and one of us cannot place its pieces, we look at each other with a mischievous glint in the eyes and I say “of course we can push these pieces this way to put this one in here”.
In mutual consent we twist the rules to make the game more fun and we no longer care about who finished first to put it’s own pieces into place but make a sport to try to achieve together to place all the pieces available. So much more fun and a feeling of complicity, playing in our own terms.
Let’s come back now to the definition of play as stated in the dictionary:
engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”the children were playing by a pool”
“Rather than a serious or practical purpose” That’s exactly where it usually becomes tricky for me to prioritize and allow myself to play more – and it’s still a work in progress! 😉 Can you relate?
Because in my upbringing, the culture I’ve grown into and still am in some ways today is SERIOUS and values PRACTICAL PURPOSE.
And one of my shadow expression according to Genekeys is SERIOUSNESS and for me being seen as frivolous has felt threatening. Much less so today and still, I can feel that first reaction where I try to justify why I do what I do, showing how useful and serious it is so that no one can accuse me to be frivolous, not serious.
Being seen as less than serious, as frivolous or lazy has felt threatening because of the fear of not being accepted and loved by others who are living according the hard work paradigm. This made it very tricky for me to feel good despite the life style I had started to create for me as I had left my corporate job and built up my skills and my business, adapting the schedule of the days to my needs rather to conform to external standards about when to work, eat, replenish.
It also played out on my journey of expansion of my artist side – from constriction to a discovery of a multifaceted expression – more about that in a coming post.
So all these rules for fitting in have been like boxes that no longer serves me and it has been a long journey of deconstruction and finding a new dance between structure and flow. A dance to be reinvented day after day 😊
Can you see how accessing more of the energy of play – enjoying the process, daring to try out new way, inviting more lightness will make a difference in your business or work? Leave a comment!
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