Reading Livia Albeck-Ripka words in the latest Dumbo Feather struck a chord. So much so we had to write to her and tell her how wonderful it was. We asked her if we could share it and she said, in true Dumbo Feather, "of course, pass it on!"
We don't play anymore. Why is that?
As children, play is one of the first things we learn to do. It teaches us to be optimistic, flexible and social. Yet when we grow up, it seems to almost disappear from our lives.
We forget to make a mess, to dress up, to make things from egg cartons and shoeboxes, to create when we know might fail.
We replace 'idle' enjoyment with work and seriousness; somehow, we start believing that if there isn't a goal, there isn't a point. We become mono focused, but it burns something at the other end. Increasingly, we are overworked, obese and depressed. And we escape into drugs and alcohol, even though we know that these altered states of consciousness are detached and ultimately, empty. But we are hardwired to play, and we haven't been coping without it.
Play is the foundation for intimacy, cooperation, creativity and resilience. It is essential to our mental health. So let¹s get out the glue and streamers and make something that might be ugly. Let's be spontaneous. Let's improvise. Let's fail together. Let's reconnect. Through play, we can awaken our innate abilities to trust and adapt. And instead of feeling the fleeting happiness that comes from goal-orientated success, we can engage with something far more magical, free and expansive. We can't play where there is judgment, so we will have to ignore our egos.
Let's try to remember what gave us joy as fearless children. Did you love to sing, to dance, to build? When is the last time you felt free, light, lost in a story? Disappearing into the make-believe can nourish our brains and hearts, and inspire a world of possibility.