Sculpting Project 17: Built to Play: Week 2
Play is our genetic birthright. When God created our complex brains he designed them to operate best when our lives include play.
In the 1920’s a Stanford research team began along term study of gifted-children. One of their discoveries was that those who played the most lived the longest. Another study of inmates found that lack of play in childhood is a predictor of criminal behavior in adulthood. All work and no play does make Jack a dull boy and more.
Our brains and whole body operated differently when we are at play. If our play involves playing at anxiety events our body sends out less adrenaline and endocrine response and our frontal lobe (higher thinking) stays in control over the reflex part of our brain. Many psychologist believe that the opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression.
Does anyone else struggle with the choice to play?
My struggle to play has to do with my love for production. Part of the definition of play is “needless, or purposeless activity.” If something feels purposeless I shy away from it. So here is what I as doing.
1. Add purposeless frills to purposeful actions. (As I clean I add a little dance.)
2. I do that are purposeful but have other elements of play: pleasurable, fun, voluntary. (I set up the activity outside where I usually prefer to be, I am currently typing outside in the warm sun with a Thrasher singing his vast collection of bird impersonations.)
3. I focus on the experience not the accomplishment of a goal. I focus more on the process than the product. (This has a strong mindfulness element.)
4. Lately, after discovering the research on the many values of play, I can remind myself that play in and of its self is purposeful and thus worth my time and effort. God build me to play.
5. The element of leisure is very helpful for me. Rush and hurry which lead to stress are not helpful.
What kind of play is play for you?
What kind of play is the most life-giving for you?
Does your play ever become work or your work ever become play?
Does God Play?
The translations of Psalm 104:26/7 vary (it must be some challenging Hebrew) Here are two fun ones to ponder.
And there is that Leviathan which you have made for the sport of it. Book of Common Prayer
The ships are moving there and the monsters you made to play with. (Grail Translation)
Sculpting Project 17: Built to Play
Explore playing in the presence of God for a few minutes each day.
There are many ways to play.
Infuse play throughout your day.