Part 2 of 2 – see below.  (This post is kind of meant to be read AFTER the previous post.)

I have written before about “The Wealthy Spirit,” a delightful book from Chellie Campbell.  In the book you will find an essay for each day of the year, along with a quote and an affirmation.  One of the essays is about the voices we hear in our heads.  Often these voices came from parents, teachers and other adults we were around as children. In one column Chellie lists the negative voices and another gives us positive words we can use to drown out the negative. Things like “Can’t you do anything right?” or “It’s for your own good,” can be replaced with more loving ones like “You can do anything you put your mind to” or “I appreciate you.”

One of my favorites is “Let’s create some fun together.”  I remember many times, as a child, when I was scheduled to go somewhere and at the last minute, I couldn’t.  Or when I asked if I could do something and was told that I couldn’t.  Children are not always soothed by the facts: “I’m sorry.  The car broke down and I can’t take you.”   “They cancelled the party.  There’s no place to go.”  These messages may not sink in, may not matter when your heart was set on it.  All you’re left with is a feeling of being deeply disappointed.

But what if someone said, “Maybe you can’t do that fun thing, but let’s you and I create some fun together”?  What a wonderful thing to do for a child! Offer him something fun to do.  What else might feel good right now?  Let’s accept the disappointment and move on. There are other enjoyable things in life. “We can sit down and draw or play a game together.  I’d say these are two of a child’s favorite things: playing and getting time and attention.

Play is a chunk of time to do something you really love to do.  For me, it would include creativity.  Doing art is how I like to play.   I emphasis doing because play entails some kind of activity.  While taking a bath might be thoroughly delightful and a healthy thing to do, it is not, strictly, “play.”  Playing might be taking a walk in the woods.  Better still, swimming.

Play is an amazingly healing thing.  But I think most of us don’t play enough.  Sure, there’s rest, but I’m talking about play.

One of the gifts of play is to use it when you’re otherwise disappointed by plans.  When plans change and you’re given a gift of time.  What are you going to do with it?  Sometimes that can be overwhelming.  Especially when you’re used to working all the time (see below).

Many times, when I find myself with unexpected time, I just don’t know what to do. Surely there must be something productive I can do with it.  That would be the thing to do, wouldn’t it?  Particularly since I’m always feeling behind. This could be a chance to catch up.  But then I find myself whining, “I doan wanna.  I want to do what I was planning to do!”

Wouldn’t it be great to use this disappointment to do something good for yourself? I try to keep a list of ways to play when I find free time. Play can be a perfect filler when your energy is cranked up anyway. Though I’ve not been very good at it (see the previous post), I think it’s important to figure out what would be fun for you.  Knowing this can really help a workaholic!

I happen to think that it’s a personal definition.  For some, going to a party is fun.  Not so much for me.  There are, of course, harmful ways to play.  But what I’m trying to get at here is just that one person’s play is another’s bore or turn off.

What a shame most of us didn’t have parents to model that for us.  Wouldn’t it have been great if we were taught how to make fun from disappointment?  Given tools for discovering what fun and play is for us?  What a great skill it would be to take with you into the world!

Now I am all for things that are productive AND play. Ultimately, isn’t that the idea?  To get to a place where everything is play. Cool, now I’m playing the Work game, digging my work, playing this part. Oh, now it’s time to play the Family/Loved Ones game!  Now I get to play with people I love.  How cool is that?  Next I’m going to be playing the Game of Caretaker, tending to needs.  Tomorrow I think I’ll play the Sports Game. . .

Life would feel a whole lot better if we played all the time.  What an amazing gift to give the art of re-setting to a child!  Easy to do, too. Just help them to find alternate plans. Create fun with them. Show them how good it can be when what you wanted or expected doesn’t show up!

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