A GOLDEN MOMENT OF CLARITY: How Playing Opened My Heart & Freed My Soul

Mr. & Mrs. Potato HeadAs many of you may remember from my last blog post, I recently had a day filled with Aha! moments while watching Super Soul Sunday and listening to Oprah talk with Brene Brown.  They were discussing the 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living from Brene’s most recent book,  Daring Greatly,    specifically  concentrating on the last 5.  I mentioned towards the end of the blog post that there were many other golden moments of clarity that I would share with you as I blogged through the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  This is about one of them and it comes from Ms. Brown’s Guidepost #7.

exhaustion as a status symbol & productivity as self worth.

Brene Brown explained this guidepost with this quote by Stuart Brown, “Play is defined as time spent without purpose” and states that shame often prevents us from playing.

This concept had a huge impact on my psyche this week; I’ve been thinking about it ever since I watched the show.

HERE’S MY SECRET: I DON’T PLAY MUCH; haven’t in a long, long time.

Oh, I played as a child, of course: the typical coloring, Barbie dolls, dressing up and outside with my brothers, all with great abandon. I played as a young girl: crafting, reading and baking, but with less abandon. At first, the abandon diminished; as a young teenager I was needed to help take care of my brother, help with the household chores and even work at a part time job to help with expenses – there wasn’t much time for leisure activities or playtime. Then the abandon stopped altogether; I think I learned during my teens that my time needed a purpose and I lost the idea of play. Could shame have caused that?  After all, teens were supposed to be cool – was playing considered cool?

As a young adult play became different – it was more social oriented and in groups. As a young mother of course I would play with my children, but not with abandon – after all I was a grownup and abandon was for children. (Maybe shame made me feel that way.) 50 years later I have come full circle and once again become reminded of (HERE’S THE AHA MOMENT) the importance of play and its absence in my life. Now, what do I do with this Aha! moment?

Well, on Easter Sunday, I figured it out: PLAY! I sat down to a time honored tradition in our house that had been lost by the wayside: COLORING EGGS. With no purpose in mind and little preplanning, I spent a good 2 hours with my husband pricking holes in eggs, blowing out the white and yolks and picking colors at random to drop the eggs into … JUST PLAYING. Easter EggsSome came out vibrant and bold, others were subtle and unusual and a few were downright ugly; the end result didn’t matter, though.

For the two hours that we played, we also reminisced about what it was like to do this with our kids, what our favorite egg dying kits were and enjoyed the comical memories of the mishaps we shared. We spent a lot of time laughing (much to my oldest son’s total amazement) and enjoying letting our minds and hands just play while our hearts opened for the joy of doing something without purpose. IT WAS AMAZING!

I do not think that this guidepost will quickly leave my mind; it’s too important of a concept to bring back into my life. Hearing Brene Brown’s profound words opened my mind to the importance of it; enjoying the actuality of it on Easter Sunday opened my heart to it. Today I already feel my soul being freed with the contemplation of what I can do this weekend to “play”.

Having shared this golden moment of clarity, I ask you this:

When was the last time you “played”; when you just did something with no purpose or intent other than to realize the joy and beauty of your soul? Share with me what it was, won’t you? Inspire others to play, open their heart and free their soul to experience the amazing feeling PLAYING can bring.

10 thoughts on “A GOLDEN MOMENT OF CLARITY: How Playing Opened My Heart & Freed My Soul

    • Linda,
      I wholeheartedly agree. The other day (after I wrote this post) my husband and my little canine princess went to the local ice cream eatery and just sat outside enjoying an ice cream cone. I remarked that it was strange not to rushing to finish a deadline or have to get home to make dinner (my sons are now adults and no longer living at home); strange, but really nice!

      Here’s hoping you have more “playtime” to stay happy.

  1. Yours is the second blog post I’ve read this week about the importance of playing. Hmmm. I wonder what the universe is trying to tell me? (I love Brene Brown. I’m glad you discovered her).

  2. I often play when i go to the beach which i try to do daily as this reminds me of my childhood where going to the beach was about being on holiday, being in the now being present with that is – that’s plating for me
    thanks for the post. I must see if i can watch the replay of Oprah and Brene

    • Suzie,
      You are lucky to be close to the beach; I love the beach but am many hours away! I grew up on the water and have the fondest of memories. Although my idea of fun water time is on a cold and clear lake on a sunny day in my kayak just drifting around. Please make sure you catch Oprah & Brene’s replay – it’s worth it!

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. I play on a fairly regular basis, actually; I LARP, which is a weekend-long stint of playing without purpose. I do it because its fun and it relieves stress, and it has actually introduced me to some of the most important people in my life (spouse included). When I meet people, I always encourage them to LARP not to get more into my hobby, but because its a pointless, purposeless creative play activity that is so good for the soul!

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