Our sense of play
We all play.
Play is how we learn, connect, and, in a lot of ways, make sense of being alive.
Play is vital to survival.
Play crosses species.
Humans with dogs
Dogs with cats
Play requires no reason.
Play simply requires an agreement - the agreement to play.
Playfulness and the signs and signals of play are preverbal.
One minute into this video, Dr. Brown describes the play ritual between a dog and a very hungry polar bear.
The play ritual signals to the animal of the other species that they are good to go and safe to play with (for now).
Let’s examine this situation. Two animals. The big one? It’s hungry. The small one? Food. And? They played together. They engaged and no one got hurt.
This was supposed to be a follow up to yesterday right?
Humans are regularly irrational and not at all reasonable.
And yet we expect our executive functioning to be always the thing we bring to the world. It’s what we expect the world to bring to us. What’s funniest? It’s what’s least developed and most requested of our children.
It’s no wonder there’s clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right.
To recap? Imagine this: You’re in heavy traffic. You’re late. It’s important. You need the restroom urgently and you’re hungry and didn’t sleep well last night. On top o that you’re struggling with someone at work.
You finally make it home to find the place a mess and your partner passed out. How reasonable are you?
People everywhere are having their ability to stay reasonable routinely challenged. It would be safer to assume that when we approach people they’re likely not reasonable to us. To themselves? For sure. And their ‘reasons’ - the stories in their heads? They very likely differ from ours.
This is where our sense of play comes in. When we teach, heal and lead others, our sense of play can be really helpful. Unreasonably so.
If we can be playful and include the others in our sense of play? We can get beyond reason. We can experience each other the way the bear and the dog did it in Dr. Brown’s story in the video above. We can create a sense of complicity at a preverbal level when we engage each other in play.
We frequently have studies about how we work and how to approach each other at work. I think a new and more essential question will become how do you like to play?
One Derful Thing
Remember some of your favorite toys from early childhood. Perhaps you still have one. Perhaps just an image or a sensation of a thing you played with and a particular time you used it.
If you can’t imagine this? Make it up.
Think about a place you felt safe.
Think of a place you felt excited.
Think of a place where you could really just play without consequences of parenting.
Think of that toy.
How is that still the perfect toy? How is it just a shining example of what you love about play today?
Who else do you expect might like to play this way?