The Approach of PLAY
Updated: Sep 15, 2019
GOOD NEWS: I have finally received an insight into the meaning of "PLAY" and its' importance in my life. Wait what wait , whaaaat? Yeah, the importance of play in my life. Play. The playing. You know - like the children do. More specifically, how playing links with the parts* of personality that don't want to be doing hard and boring work (or any work) and parts who don't want to be responsible for the success of things that I am doing (projects, sessions, career, my life, other people's lives, relationships). I will try to cut the story short, but I don't know if I will succeed. However, I will give it a shot.
One sunny afternoon on Saturday, I was lying on the sofa (I never do that) thinking that now I am feeling quite relaxed. Since I was relaxed, I have started reflecting back on something that was going through my head and didn't leave me at peace for some time. During a couple of weeks before that, I have been getting advises and guidance from a few different sources telling me that in order to achieve what I want I need to... play more. So now I was thinking that yes, I have some free time so I suppose I could play, but… erm... what exactly do they mean by playing more? How? Play with the dolls? I don't know if I want to. Play with the colors, creating paintings? Now I'm not in the mood – it only works when I am inspired. Imaginary friends? What?! A few play scenarios went through my head. Hmmm.
What is the problem?
Why don't I know how to play?
Don't I know how to play?
I think I do, BUT... Well, OK. So here is the deal: I am a strongly parentified child. That means that in my childhood I have largely taken on the role of an adult, the parent, the responsible one and instead of having the emotional experience of being careless and worry-free (as a child should) emotionally I have been living as an adult, except that I was in a child's body.
When you think about it that way, there is no wonder that the missing experience in my life is PLAY and therefore I should play more. Even though I did play with my sisters and with kids in my neighborhood, there is still this feeling that maybe I didn't play enough. Perhaps maybe I did think that I have played when in reality I didn't. Thinking back on the types of games I have played I recall that my games were serious. Most of them were pretending to be an adult and talking/pretending to do the “adult stuff” like going to work, coming back from work, going to the shop, bringing back food… So basically in my childhood when I thought that I was playing, I was not REALLY playing: I was rehearsing the adult life. But don't all kids do that??
So, now I guess I should play more... The only problem is... how? How do you know how to play? IN a context of adult life? It feels so strange to me to let myself to do something with no particular purpose or do something "just because"… I also feel the same strange feeling when I am doing something with no particular practical/tangible outcome or use… So basically, I don’t know how to... play… Sigh.
Admitting that to myself stopped my mind for a bit. It was like "Huh? I don't know how to play? But I thought that I know how to do everything… Well, almost everything". And then the whole thing hit home. PLAYYYYYYYYY.
I have completely misunderstood it! I thought that I should go and specifically DO PLAYING, which would re-mediate my missing childhood experience and then (after I completed my task of PLAY and compensated for it) I would successfully remove my blocks and get what I want and my life would be wonderful. But no, that wasn't quite it.
In a past few weeks before this happened, I have been experiencing anxiety and procrastination about doing something in order to build my life the way I want it to be (i.e. writing my bio, describing my services, completing last technical bits and bobs on my website) and there was this ever-present fear that if I do move ahead and start towards my successful future, I would then be on duty to WORK (ALL THE TIME) and therefore BE TIRED (ALL THE TIME) and also SUFFER (ALL THE TIME). So a few parts within me have been clearly AGAINST these things for my own good, so that I would get to maintain that little balance that I have managed to create in my life (note for my fellow astrology geeks my Sun is in Libra – balance rules!!!) and were keeping their heels dug deeply in the ground shouting “we are not going anywhere, because if we do, you will work us to death” (no, I don't actually hear voices, but it felt like that). OK - guilty. I admit it: that did happen in the past, I did that to myself. I did work myself to death. Almost to death... Also, several times too... Sigh. OK.
So now back to why PLAY is the answer to my problems.
PLAY (in this case) means doing things for fun, out of curiosity, experimenting and not necessarily having some sort of serious result, enjoying things while doing them (and this is not in a sense that I would have to MAKE myself like what I do, but find a fun way of doing things – like a game).
So, HOW that will sort out my problems like anxiety, procrastination, resistance to doing things? The answer is really simple.
If I play, there is no reason to have that much anxiety, because it is a game: I do things, and see what comes out of it and NOT I do things and it better has a successful result. So the pressure is OFF.
The second problem that would be resolved is procrastination. Procrastination to me is delaying doing something because either doing that thing will mean that I will not get to do something else that I enjoy more, OR it means that I will not enjoy the process of doing that thing that I procrastinate doing. How does PLAYing it fixes it? Again -simple. If I play, that means I will be enjoying the experience of doing that thing and it will not matter that much, because even if I miss other things that I enjoy, I still get to enjoy the process of doing the thing that I otherwise would have procrastinated doing.
Finally, this approach would also resolve resistance. Resistance to what? Why do I even have resistance to doing things that I know I have to do? Most likely (in my case) it is either because it could potentially mean that doing the thing will bring undesirable consequences, or (again) doing the thing will not be an enjoyable experience. So if I played, instead of "did" something, and I got undesirable consequences, it wouldn't really be failing OR feel like I have done something wrong. It would be more like "oh well, I guess the result of this play is not as fun as it could have been”. So yet again – play solves it. Ta-dah!
When all these things clicked together, I realised that PLAY in my life should become the approach to living and going through the tasks and things that I do. All my life I have been really serious. Always. Super wise and serious. Yes, OK – I did develop a great sense of humour and I do a few great/charming personalities up my sleeve, but all of these things I always used as a tool for survival, with serious reasons behind it. After experiencing all of the struggles and how hard life can get when everything has super serious and important consequences and thinking that things should be always done very carefully, I realised that this method has exhausted me quite a lot. So perhaps it is not working very well anymore. So perhaps now it is time to change something, for example, my approach to life? And since I am at it, why not to try a new method of doing things... Maybe it is time for me to test out a new approach to life: the approach of PLAY.
*Parts - here it is used to describing parts of the personality (transpersonal psychology)