“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss
Today I want to talk about the importance of engendering play in our daily lives. Children do this every day, quite naturally, and of their own accord. Watch kids at the local play ground and you will notice that they play with abandon and full freedom of expression. They live life to the fullest!
Adults have grown up and in the process, we strive to live according to society’s measures – we have forgotten to play and have fun, and are so serious about life. How many times have you checked your “To Do” list, returning to do one more chore, one more hour of work, one more task in our pursuit of perfection and fulfillment? Do you see games as a sign of weakness or childishness, do you push yourself past your limits in the hopes of getting just one more thing accomplished?
That was me, always setting goals and checking off my lists. Until I took a Clowning Class in Vancouver, and was opened up to a world of amusement, games and play. At first it was uncomfortable, thinking fast and playing with the inner critic. But we quickly got over the anxiety and were content to explore without the fear of making mistakes. Studies show that spontaneous comedy can be good for the soul, and have healing effects at the same time. It was corny, it was silly… but it was also satisfying, and relaxing! The masks we wore routinely came off as we peeled back the layers, and as adults, saw the world through the eyes of a child.
As Lisa Voth, the instructor who taught this clowning class, once said: “kids don’t need clowns, they need playmates” – because they get goofy all on their own!
Here’s your assignment for today. Hold a pose that feels silly or playful, just for a few seconds. Working with an Expressive Arts Therapist has taught me to use my body to play, to tune into the physical form and its intelligence, to release tension and strain in order to bring the body into greater balance. And its fun!!!