Fear of the Unknown – Part II – The Lost Art of Play
What does play look like if you (like so many adults) have difficulty connecting to your sense of play? A few years ago I probably couldn’t have answered that question. I’d become so work-driven I lost my sense of play.
A coach I hired gave me an exercise. She said, “I want you to give me a list of 75 things that have got nothing to do with work and I want it by tomorrow.” I said, “All right. That’s not a problem.” I hung up the phone, got out a pen and paper and wrote down a grand total of two things down on my list. I was stunned. I was upset. I cried. It shocked me that I couldn’t access that part of me. I questioned myself: “Was I ever a good player, or was I just a complete nerd on the playground?”
I picked myself up and began calling other people I knew like my sister and my friends and asked, “What do you do when you’re not working?”
They said things like, “Oh, I go to the movies, I workout, I take a nap, I read a book, I go for a walk….” With that help, I managed to finish my list of 75 fun things to do that had nothing to do with work. In fact, by the end of the list, I was starting to really have fun with it. I was determined to get myself back – at any cost.
I proudly returned to my coach, assignment in hand and shared my list with her. She said, “This is a great list. Now I want you to do it. I want you to do every single thing on this list.” I have to do what?
At first, I was so out of practice that I had to refer to the list a lot. I actually had to allow myself to sit and read a novel and know that was okay. I had to remind myself that spending time with myself to rejuvenate was okay; I had lost that sense. And what I found most interesting was I had to let go of my ego to regain my sense of self – and play. This sense of self is now critically important to me – it’s important to my health, my happiness and my well being, and everything around me is flourishing because of that.
I was a pretty extreme work fanatic, so having a simple “non goal” related conversation with a friend was, for me, play. And hanging out just chatting was at first quite challenging. Being play-full has allowed my relationships in every arena to grow and flourish. Using my imagination has allowed me to discover innovative, progressive solutions for any circumstance. Who knew? ( Well, I guess Einstein did – but he was a genius right?)
Check out the post Fear of the Unknown-Part III for a further look at how to step into the unknown in a really