It’s JUST kid’s PLAY
I LOVE all the amazing beautiful people that are reaching out! I am grateful for you.
It is easy to think this post is just for parents, but it’s not!
So, I have spent much of my life in my head. Listening to my head. It often has great things to say, but it sometimes has a hard time grasping and valuing, the emotional and the bodily.
It is of course not surprising that, I am, we are, so much in our heads. It is what society often value. It is what supposedly makes us valuable.
Spoiler alert: One of the biggest lies ever told!
One of the things that I wasn’t able to get, was when people talked about life and play, and that children has so much to teach us. I sort of just nodded and thought, of course they do, but I’m not sure what.
They are little people and I am big, different worlds, responsibilities and understanding.
Then I decided to really get into it, what is it that this “kids play” can teach me/us? So, one day sitting at the beach just watching my kids. This is what I got to:
FLOW … being totally absorbed in play, in something that they love doing. Time doesn’t exist. What they are doing is feeding them, giving back to their existence, as well as evolving their activity. I will put CREATIVITY in flow, because they create moment to moment. New things develop and new possibilities are constantly born.
My baby just pours sand through the fingers, for ages, trying, in vain to eat it. The toddler goes back and forth doing the same thing over and over again, until he adds something on. The 6 years old is playing out some tremendous, elaborate princess/pirate story
PRESENCE … these kids are here and now, when they are in play. There is no yesterday or tomorrow, or what will happened later. In play, they are NOW! They are free in this moment. Isn’t that what we are all looking for, freedom?
BOUNDARIES… They set and practice boundaries, or expand them, they negotiate or don’t. If they want to play on their own, they are fierce, “NO”. If they are more motivated to have somebody to play with the play evolves, “well yes my princess can drive a monster truck”.
When they are done playing, they are done. They don’t continue to make somebody else happy. Done. The other one gets to practice not liking it, but having to honour somebody else’s boundaries.
When did that happen? When did you start feeling as though you had to do things to make others happy?
CONNECTION & LOVE … First of all, the connection to themselves, “what do I have the urge to do?“ Listening to what motivates them and gets them going. Connection to others. In play, they connect on such a deep level, that goes beyond name, age, defence systems. All of a sudden, a whole group of different ages are all trying to catch some poor little fish out of the stream.
Child: “I had so much fun with my new friends”.
Parent: “Great, what were their names (typical parent question).”
Child: “I don’t know”.
It doesn’t matter, the connection was there and they played!
PROCESSING… AH! This is a BIG one, and I will not give it enough time in this post, but they process their lives, their days, their thoughts, feeling, emotions and experiences. So that they are not stuck in their little amazing bodies. It can be joyful things, difficult things, mundane things, traumatic things, everyday things…whatever, but play processes this stuff. Everything from “Mommy do you want a latte or cappuccino? (yes, I might have a caffeine issue) to “the horse mommy is dead and the baby horse is sad”. Because if they don’t, it gets stuck, and when it gets stuck, it hurts. Often, they don’t have words to tell you, so they play it.
You know that feeling, right? There is something there, but you can’t finger on it.
Of course, the CONDITIONS FOR PLAY is what supports play. They, little humans, have to feel safe to play. If they feel under threat, are hungry, tired or stressed, play will not happen. So, when a child is not playing, that generally means the conditions are not there.
Not so much different for us, if you are hungry, tired, stressed….you ain’t feeling so playful. The comedy is though, that sometimes, a lot of times, it is PLAY that will get your feeling playful again.
So, don’t wait around, sometimes you have to play to feel playful, and sometimes you just have to go to bed!
I guess there is a lot to learn from little humans.
Where and how do you find your FLOW, PRESENCE, BOUNDARIES, CONNECTION, LOVE and PROCESSING?
I also want to share my interview with Fred Donaldson with you, because he so beautifully talks about what play really is. There are a few tech issues in the first 10 minutes or so, a good opportunity to practice radical acceptance and mindfulness, then it is plain sailing after that.
I’m also so excited about getting in to his NEW BOOK Playing For Real: Re-Playing The Game of Life
…. Check it out!