Today is Bell Mobility “Let’s Talk” campaign in support of mental health. COVID has taken away so much from our lives. For many it has also taken away those they love. We wear masks. We gather in smaller groups. We stay six feet apart in public places. We wear masks. Our interactions are limited.
Did you know that one of the first ways we play is when a parent smiles and makes facial expressions with his/her child? This is play that teaches us what facial expressions mean and how to express ourselves with our expression. Now we wear masks. One of the most basic playful expressions has been removed from our lives in public.
This morning as I reflected on my relationships, I was reminded that I am not being very playful.
I know that being playful builds healthy connection and yet I am taking life so seriously right now. (Just one more crime against wisdom to tally up.) Life feels pretty serious right now. COVID, new lockdowns in Canada, 400,000 dead in the US, a major change in power in the US laden with a very evident divide in values, drop in the stock market, the economic impacts of ten months of restrictions and government bailouts. Do not even get me started on anti-vaxers and conspiracy theorists.
Yup... Life feels pretty serious and heartbreaking.
Feb 10, 2020 - I witnessed the end of my father’s life. In those final days and hours we did not talk about politics, our jobs, the work he did. We talked about the memories of times we laughed. We talked about that time my sister and I went hunting with our dad on Boxing Day and he kept right on going while I struggled to get my little sister out of the mud and retrieve her boot. We laughed about the time I our father had to go into the lake to save us from blowing out further from shore. We laughed about the time he and our mother took us clam digging in Walton.
These times when we play are the moments that make our life more meaningful. Yes, success in our jobs gives us purpose and a pay check that affords us time to play. But I prefer to remember the time my son and I went climbing in Texas over the memory of sitting in my office in a concrete building looking at a computer screen that resulted in summer camp success.
Play doesn’t have to be a trip away. We all find play in different ways. Personally I like to explore or to move in my body, which is why climbing has so much appeal to me. according to Dr. Stuart Brown there are eight different play profiles. Here are the eight Dr. Stuart Brown suggests:
Although these eight separate ways of playing, for many of us we gain enjoyment from all areas, we just have a preference or gain a higher degree of joy from a few more than the others. Just for fun, you may want to consider your own preferences. Take a walk down memory lane to when you were younger and how you enjoyed playing with your friends, the games you played. My son loved being competitive AND telling everyone else how to participate... definitely a competitor and director. And he also loves to go on adventures. Though he seems to have less interest in being the collector unless you count redpoint ascents.
If you consider these areas of expression, what may be apparent to you relatively quickly is this... they involve more than one person. The only exception may be the kinesthete - the form of play that involves body expression, like dance. However with our new COVID restricted lives, being able to attend a dance class may be more restricted than it has been in the past.
If any of this resonates with you, the director in me challenges you today to see where you can bring a little play into your day and share in the comments.