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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.



Not a big secret that this is something I care about. I write kind of a lot about play and playing. See: yesterday and … pretty much everything else.

Also, I have a Playground, a dedicated space for extreme goofballery.

And tomorrow we begin the fourth quarter at the Kitchen Table, and guess what the theme is? PLAY. Fabulous.

But I haven’t really explained why play is so important. And I can’t.

Not yet. Not like this.

I’m going to need the Schmoppet. And possibly some monsters. And a feather boa. And a duck. Wait, I already have the duck.

But in the meantime, while I hunt around for the damn video camera … I will say this:

Play is the missing ingredient. The secret sauce. That thing that makes everything else easier.

Add play and stir.

Play is vital because otherwise all this self-work self-help working on your crap blah process gunk is exhausting and not fun.

Play takes the piss out of the self-seriousness.

Play gives you permission to not have to get everything right. To experiment and be curious and declare amnesty and to hide in blanket forts. Like at the Rally. (Rally!)

Play makes scary things accessible. And possible.

This is what play does.

It makes deconstructing your patterns less heavy. It dissolves should.

Big (and sometimes intimidating) words get smaller. And sillier.

Big words that I don’t generally use here. Like Forgiveness, Clarity, Faith, Gratitude, Prosperity, Sovereignty.

Okay, I do say sovereignty a lot, but only when I’m wearing my extremely hot sovereignty boots.

The point is: play makes everything feel less … hopeless.

  • Play makes forgiveness lighter.
  • It makes clarity not so blindingly bright.
  • It gives levity to faith.
  • It turns gratitude into a game (that you only play when you feel like it)
  • It takes prosperity and makes it lighthearted and exploratory and fun.
  • It turns sovereignty practice into a ridiculous improv class with people you adore.

It infuses rituals with hilarity. And it gives you permission to get messy.

Play is permission.

If I am playing with destuckification and rewriting my patterns, I don’t have to worry about how or when or why things are shifting. Or if I’m doing it right.

I can’t explain it better than that. This is the part again about how epiphanies are stupid because you can’t put them into words.

But I know this in my body. I know it. I know this in a “this is why the buddha laughed” sort of way.

I have been taking life too seriously.

And not taking play seriously enough.

Selma and I will be back with a Schmoppet. Maybe tomorrow. And it still won’t make sense. But at least we’ll be playing.

15 Responses to Playing.

  1. Megan Lubaszka
    Twitter: toacircus

    Play is where new worlds are formed, where inventions are birthed, where we test our abilities and strengths in a way that is fun and safe.

    Piaget (that brilliant guy who seems to have been able to look right into the minds of children) says, “Play is the answer to the question — How does anything new ever come about?”

    It is where our creativity and imagination is unleashed and we become the fox in the video game (probably my most favorite technique you’ve ever taught).

    This subject is probably more important to me than anything else, and I am so glad you can talk about it so beautifully. Can’t wait for what the Schmoppet has to say.

    .-= Megan Lubaszka´s last post … The Bad Fit- Could Your Child’s “Learning Disorder” be a Misdiagnosis =-.

  2. Mari says:

    Play!!!! Indescribable. And vital. Like the vital organs.

    I was reading this and at the last line about it not making sense, it occurred to me that that’s one of the lovely freedoms of play. It doesn’t HAVE to make sense. It’s freedom from sensicalness. It can make sense but it doesn’t HAVE to make sensies. It can just be PLAY!!!

    Love this.

    Thank you, Havi!

  3. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Play. Yes. Very good to remember.

    Perhaps I’ll buy some containers of Play-Doh and leave them in strategic locations, as a reminder: “Oops, I almost forgot to play — d’oh!” :P
    .-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … Candide and capacity =-.

  4. steph says:

    Once again, Havi, you’re reminding me of something at just the perfect time when I needed a reminder.

    Or maybe it’s just that it’s *always* the perfect time to be reminded of the goodness of Play. :)

    Thank you.

    @Kathleen – I laughed out loud about “play — d’oh!
    I have some small containers of Play-Doh; I may just have to dig them out and scatter them around, now. :)
    .-= steph´s last post … notes from the kitchen =-.

  5. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    If I’ve learned anything from my children, it’s that play isn’t supposed to make sense. It’s supposed to be fun, and that’s it. No explanations required.

    Well, that, and I’ve also learned to always look where you’re stepping. But that’s really another subject entirely.
    .-= Amber´s last post … My Dreams- Myself =-.

  6. Tori Deaux
    Twitter: ToriDeaux

    I’ve been thinking about play a lot lately. Even wrote about it earlier this week. Twice! (Well, sort of twice)

    And I’ve realized that one of the reasons I love your writing, Havi, is that you give us all permission to turn work into play. I tried to do that constantly as a child, but everyone told me to be serious. I try to do that now, as an adult, and the EXPERTS tell me to settle down and get serious and follow plans. I really seem to need the permission you give.

    So thanks!
    Want a sparkle-cookie?

    (she said, skipping off to play with her imaginary friends)
    .-= Tori Deaux´s last post … Play- Damn You! It’s Serious Business =-.

  7. Rupa
    Twitter: theyogaofliving

    “The point is that play makes everything less…hopeless.”

    Havi, I loved your explanation of how play makes Forgiveness, Clarity, Faith, Gratitude, Prosperity & Sovereignty more natural, more approachable and more motivated from the heart (and not at all obligatory, as the head would sometimes have us believe).

    Playing, I place greater faith in my imagination, which even Einstein conceded is, “more important than knowledge.”

    Just play. I like it.
    .-= Rupa´s last post … Parking Karma =-.

  8. Jess says:

    I so GET this! I adore the line: Play is the missing ingredient. The secret sauce. That thing that makes everything else easier.

    Reminds me of being in a too serious moment, cracking a smile, then everything dissolving into smoothness, rather than tension.

    Brilliant, as always.

    Thank you Havi!

  9. Doc
    Twitter: ichingyouching

    There are parts of myself that sleepily raise their heads as safari animals responding to the call of a far-off mate. Awesome, because I felt this old moss-covered turtle thing inside me actually MOVE, actually look up(!) when reading your words about play.

    Play actually frustrates me right now, and that’s putting it on the not-fun side of things. I am so excited to hear about more playful ways of playing, instead of trying to play with iguanas all the time. (Too practical, and too efficient!) I can dress them up and make them look like fun playmates, but really I like to handle them for what they are, while congratulating myself (look how awesome, I can stare down and feed and help out these iguanas!).

    I need some frivolity, some space, some sparklers, and a couple of streamers. And that’s just so far. And the iguanas can hang out; I’ll give myself a break from worrying about them during playtime!
    .-= Doc´s last post … =-.

  10. andrea
    Twitter: gocreativedream

    .-= andrea´s last post … love list creating change =-.

  11. KL says:

    Play makes it much easier to remember that the unbearable-weight-of-being is just one way to experience life. Yes, things matter, but they don’t MATTER…

    (Believing in reincarnation really helps you hold that perspective too. Alleviates the oh-my-god-but-what-if-everything-goes-tragically-wrong-and-I-end-up-going-insane-and-dying-in-the-gutter monsters of doom! Allows you to say “it’s okay little monsters, if that happens we’ll just get reborn and have another go at being alive okay?”) Yay reincarnation!

    My yoga teacher taught me so much about using Play as a way of bringing levity and experimentation and the quality of being-okay-with-being-where-you-are into my time on the yoga mat, and out in the world.

    Playing at LIFE! Get into it, give it a go, TRY, but have FUN trying. Balancing that with being-okay-with-however-it-turns-out Surrender.


  12. Leela
    Twitter: LeelaSinha

    Play! I remember my taiji teacher in Minneapolis used to invite us to play taiji.
    She made it sound so…light.
    And it was.

    Play is awesome. It en-lightens things.
    .-= Leela´s last post … the big question =-.

  13. Barak Rosenbloom
    Twitter: timenative

    If you haven’t found it, there’s the National Institute for Play. Oddly, its site isn’t very playful–it’s run by a pretty hard-core academic and all-around good guy, Dr. Stuart Brown.

    For anyone interested in the role of play in human development and behavior, it’s got a lot of fascinating information (and some fun photos).
    .-= Barak Rosenbloom´s last post … WHY TIME MANAGEMENT WILL NEVER WORK FOR TWO-THIRDS OF US =-.

  14. Kirsty Hall
    Twitter: kirstymhall

    I want to be playful again but I’m so tired right now that even play doesn’t seem appealing. Much sadness. But I guess that’s a good thing to remember, that play takes energy too.
    .-= Kirsty Hall´s last post … New chicken video =-.

  15. […] and truthfully, play is hard. I kinda forget how it goes. I am envious of Havi’s ability to play. (And she totally wrote this post I am writing already, but better. Click that […]

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