Play and not-play are two sides of the same penny.
We can't get one without the other. Play isn't devoid of substance. It's deep, and powerful and significant.
The better we know "not-play" the more we can PLAY and the juicier it'll be.
Pema Chodron says that in order to know fearlessness you must know fear. You must turn towards the dragon, stand eye to eye with it, and smile. Then you'll know courage.
This feels true for play too. In order to know playfulness I have to know not-play. As Jonathan Safron Foer puts it in one of his books, I have to investigate what it’s like to wear “heavy boots.” I have to turn towards my “heavy boots," kick my "heavy boots" and eventually dance in them.
When we get stuck Pema asks, “What would Dr. Seuss do in this situation?“
Play is always relative.
Standing when you want to sit could be a radical and ridiculous act.
Squeaking when you want to keep your mouth shut could be a glorious movement.
The act of dragging words out of me and having that super tough conversation with my bf may be an act of radical playfulness in contrast to them sitting heavy and stuck in the belly.
Playfulness is much more than flash mobs and silliness; it's the creative games we play with our lives.
Yesterday I was reminded of this "relative-play" and flattened, in a good way, by a poem and animation by Shane Koyczan, and collaborators, on bullying. It’s a beauty, and it brings movement to a “heavy boots situation.” To me it is a courageous example of playing, though I cry rather than laugh.
Play is really just an invitation to move, anything, even just a little bit.
It cracks the door open + lets the light in.