I can be a rather serious guy, too serious in fact, but when I peel back those layers I do find I have a playful side that is ready to pop out, explore and have fun. As I have wandered down the path of Energetic Wine, and going through a good bit of self examination, I’ve realized that I love my playful side, and I want it to be in the driver’s seat far more often.
As I’m a serious person, I have plenty of friends and acquaintances that are serious as well. Fortunately I have an amazing role model for playfulness in my fiancée. I have been following her lead and being more playful. Her style of play is filled with laughter and joy, being silly, and poking others to join her. I realized that this isn’t my style, and due to my serious side, I have been trying to figure out what’s my style of play.
As I read that line, my playful side wants to smack my serious side for being such a fuddy duddy. Play is easy, what’s hard is getting out of your own way. By actively searching for how to play and what my style is, I’ve found a few tricks that help me get out of my own way. They don’t always work, but more often than not, I can wake myself out of the serious state, and enjoy my life.
For those of you that have forgotten how to play, or that you should be playful, here are some tips:
Use your curiosity! This is such a wonderful tool, and super easy to use. When we were children, this came naturally to us. We’d ask everyone about stuff, how does this work? Why is that? What does that do? And so on, this instinct is worn out of us by our parents getting sick of answering endless questions, many of which are too hard to answer.
Now that we’re adults, we can simply ask these questions of ourselves, and our good buddy google can often provide answers. Too often we forget to ask questions and use our curiosity. We’ve been indoctrinated into the system. We have our lives, we go to work, we spend time with family, etc. We don’t ask why enough though! Look around, wonder! Touch something and ponder why does it feel like this, who designed it, where was it made, and so on. Let your curiosity out and play will follow.
Breathe –Take a deep breath, do it again, now one more time. I bet you didn’t do it. Serious people usually read that and skip it. I know I used to. Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on your body and how you feel helps free you from the loops in your head that are focusing on stress, things you have to do, and the unpleasant sides of life. Observe where you’re at and how you feel, but don’t judge, just notice. I find that just noticing where I’m at can help me relax, which opens the door for play.
Feel! We feel playful, we don’t think playful. Get out of your head, all that thinking is getting in the way of you feeling and playing. Remember any of the joyous and playful times in your life and you’ll find all of them all centered on how you felt, not how you thought.
Finally, focus on what you do want in life, including play! Us serious folks are often worrying about this or that, focusing on something we don’t want to happen, or how we’re going to get all the stuff done on our to do lists. If you focus on that stuff all the time, it creates patterns in your brain, which cause you to think about that stuff more often. You have to actively think(and feel) about what you do want! This is takes regular practice as its easy to fall back into old habits of thinking about what we don’t want. Tell yourself regularly that you want to be relaxed and playful, that you want to experience joy, and that you want to love your life. All the self help folks are right, this shit works! Focus on what you want and you’ll notice more of it, but you have to rewrite your patterns so you’re not clogging up your brain with a lot of crap.
I hope these help you enjoy your life more, I know they help me!
Bonus tip: Go outside! In your back yard or deep into the woods, it doesn’t matter. Being outside always helps relax and bring in play. Why do you think our parents told us to go out and play!