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"PLAY" is Not a Four-Letter Word

Okay, yeah, I know it is a four-letter word. But, the point is, too many of us treat the notion of play as something anathema. We see it as as something childish, selfish, or lazy.

It’s time to change that.

It’s time to rediscover play.

It’s time to choose the pathways that lead to sustainable health.

I am on a long quest to discover a healthy balance of work, rest, and play. And, I have to admit, it is hard. Work and rest are not hard. I know how to work hard and I’m usually OK at shutting down to rest. But factoring in that third rail—play—is so much harder than it sounds.

Play is much more than something flippant or superfluous. Good healthy play calls for focus. It consumes our attention. It requires a disconnect from our multi-tasking mania in order to dive deep into the moment. Play is an all-in experience that engages and captivates our senses. True play absorbs us in a way that makes keeping track of time irrelevant.

A couple weeks ago, my five-year-old grandson was over for the day. Somehow we stumbled onto the idea of making homemade lemonade together and then turning it into different colors just to see how the different colors would taste.

We made a glorious mess. We picked and squeezed lemons. We stirred in water and sugar and plucked out renegade seeds. We even did a blind taste-test after mixing food coloring to create different colors. To his surprise, remember he’s five, all the colored versions tasted the same as the original. (By the way, we had to mop the kitchen floor about 5 times to get rid of the stubborn sticky residue.)

The whole adventure lasted maybe an hour, but it was one of the purest sixty minutes of play I can remember. Look again at his joy in the picture above.

Play has re-creational power.

Our souls need the fresh air that play blows in.

Our minds need to disconnect from problems and puzzles that occupy us.

Our outlook needs the injection of joy that accompanies the purity of play.

Our shoulders need relief from the weight of the world that we carry 24/7/365.

Enough. I doubt you need any more convincing. Most of us need less convincing and more action. You might even need some ideas for where and how you can get started.

Suggestion: Click this link and read my article on Creativity and Play. I wrote it in Sept. of 2020, but it is a sibling to this post. That earlier article included a host of ideas for where and how you might begin to experiment with play.

The real question is:

If you were to carve out a few hours for play during the next 3-4 days, where would you start? What would you spend them?

Be courageous. Make a plan. Take a new step. Play.


My last post was about the secret to getting things done. Consider this post as part of the secret to sustainable health while we get that work done. If you missed the last post, click here.


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