Conscious Play

By Deborah Ooten - October 2008

The fall season is approaching and with it comes the need to reflect on how we play and prepare ourselves for this transitioning time of year. This is a time of winding down just before we begin to build back up for the holiday season. Adult play is sometimes very complicated and hard to achieve in our fast paced, striving centered culture.

Ask yourself, how do I relax and play? What are the things that help me to balance work, play and self care? Do I enjoy playing in the garden or do I prefer to expand my consciousness by participating in the arts? How do you play, relax and center yourself?

I just had a vacation at the beach and I observed that it took me a good three days before I could shift from my usual frenetic pattern of work, where I am always on call and ready to meet whatever need or challenge arises. Once I was able to relax and center myself, I found that it was easy to be more present to the moment and not as anxious. My mind easily went to the activities that supported my relaxing and playing. I found that it was clear how I wanted to spend my time. I wanted to see movies, plays, and listen to the music that was available. I wanted to rest in the sun on the beach and just allow time to pass without any real structuring of what was next.

I was once again amazed at how “out of balance” I and we can become because of the culture of striving that we live in. Making a living, taking care of our family and friends, and fulfilling our obligations all seem to become more important than being present to the moment and our need for play and balance.

How do you get out of balance? How are you not taking care of yourselves? What helps you to relax, center and play? What are the things that really “feed” you in your life? Be prepared to shift some of the obligations in your life. This will allow for the freedom to experience the moment in a more relaxed and playful manner.

This season brings with it great opportunities in our area to enjoy the arts. Music, plays, operas, ballets, out door concerts and gatherings of all sorts are available each weekend and in the evenings. Explore what brings you joy and helps you to be present to the moment. The arts usually help to expand consciousness and create a space within ourselves that allows for growth and greater awareness.

As you reflect over how to invite play into your life, consider what helps you to relax and become more aware of yourself on a deeper level. Do you allow music to take you to a deeper experience of yourself? Do you allow the play or ballet to stimulate new ways of thinking about the symbols in your life? Do you allow for an expanded awareness to arise out of this type of “play”?

Remember that the arts are a way to transport you in the moment to a space that is relaxing and rejuvenating. This place is where you can find the inner peace and calm that you need for a mini vacation from the stress and striving of each day. So RELAX and PLAY in new ways that expand your consciousness and allow for new information to be revealed about you.

I believe that it is vital to balance work, play and self care. These three centers of the self often become unbalanced without consciously attending to them and making choices that create time for play. Take time to look at how you create play in your life. Promise yourself that you will do something new in the area of play that will help to shift your awareness. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new, maybe even invited someone new to go with you. In the area of play STRETCH yourself to new levels and ENJOY the experience in the present moment.

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