As adults, many of us have forgotten how to play. We forget the very essence of what makes us joyful human beings. I am a self-described play “activist.” I encourage others to play as often as possible and I live my life in a way that encourages play with those around me. What I have found since I started this work is that often times, people just want or need someone to give them permission. They want to know it is going to be OK. You see, our egos are the reason playfulness gets buried. As we grow up, we become self-conscious and others tell us that we “need to grow up.” This in turn, leads us to believe play is only for children and therefore we no longer get to engage in those playful activities unless we want to be ridiculed and face our greatest fears from the sandbox.
What an awful experience, right? No wonder we no longer want to play!The ego tends to get blamed for things like this, but we have to remember that it’s only trying to protect us. The ego wants to be sure we are safe. It is there is keep us from harm and everything is does is from the essence of. . . will we be OK if I do _____?
Recently, I attended my first dream retreat. It was hosted by Chrysalis Healing Arts. During the retreat, we had several activities that involved playing, especially in our guided dream journeys, but my FAVORITE one was where we shared our dreams and chose one to re-enact through dream theater. Yes. DREAM THEATER. We each had a role (or three) and acted out the dream as a team. It was so much fun! Additionally, it allowed the dreamer (who also directed) to further analyze and decode the dream based on our interpretation as characters. We were able to help the dreamer journey back to the sacred dreamland and get more information about what was beneath the surface.
What that activity allowed us to do, was get permission from the universe to play again. I mean, we truly embodied our characters. We laughed. We played. The energy was so intense and it was then that I realized even with my weekly play practices, I REALLY miss doing deep play work, like theater. I miss my drama club days and playing out in the desert dunes as a young child creating fortresses out of mesquite trees. One of the other things that was really fun during the retreat is that I chose to sleep on a bunk bed on the loft part of the Crescent Moon Lodge. Talk about getting in touch with my playful side! Not only that, but I turned it into a fort. It took me back to the days of turning our dining room table and dining room into a castle using pillows, blankets, and chairs. it was SO fun. I like to think it also encouraged some really fun dreams. Anyway, I think I even asked someone’s permission to do so and then thought, I’m an adult, I can build a fort if I want to!
Both these activities really showed me how engrained it is to ask for permission even as adults. At work, at home, of our friends, etc. we ask for permission/approval. As part of Warrior Goddess Training I am facing my fears and learning to love them, so I’m giving myself permission to love my ego, greet fear as a friend, and create space for play in my life. I learned to do “permission slips” from an Oprah Life Class by Brene Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection. I found that when I meditated a bit, it helped silence what my brain wanted me to write down and dug a little deeper to what my soul really NEEDED to have permission to do to live more authentically.
I invite you to create some permission slips you can refer to over the next few days, weeks, or even months. I have some in my art journal, but I’m making more to hang up around my office and the home. Here are some examples:
I give myself permission to:
. . . take the vacation time I’ve earned at work.
. . .make working out a priority at least 3 days a week.
. . .be honest and kind.
. . .ask for what I need.
. . .be fiercely loved.
. . .create space for play every day.
Grab a sheet a paper, a notebook, poster board, or some canvas (any surface really) and craft some permission slips. Feel free to share them on the Creative Harz Facebook page!
Here’s to finding permission to do what we need to foster play in our lives!
With glitter and gratitude,