The Sacred Art of Play (Hint: It’s Not Just for Children)

When I hear the word “play,” I imagine myself wandering the path of a woodland trail and breaking out into a spontaneous run. I see myself writing lines of poetry and chanting “Om So Hum” in the morning as the sun rises. I feel myself casting spells, taking leaps into the unknown, trusting the process, and sharing my true self with the world.

Play is the sacred act of discovery and enjoyment. It is the moment where “must” and “should” takes a backseat to curiosity and desire. It’s the moment where we gently surrender our pressures and cares and let ourselves show up just as we are, eager and open. It’s where we attune ourselves to the rhythm of the universe and let whatever wants to come, come.

Play is the domain of Mind Witches at peace. It is where they retreat when their role as a mechanism in the great machine becomes too much, and they wish instead to be a radiating wave in the organism of the universe. Play is more a state of mind than it is an activity—it’s not what we do, but the spirit in which we do it that matters.

When I come to my work in the spirit of play, it feels like an adventure. My genius courses through me and emerges through my fingertips like the genius of the river flows. It doesn’t feel effortless, but it does feel as if there’s very little resistance—I’m in a state of complete and total agreement with what I’m doing, so the energy I’m expending is all flowing in the same direction. I’m not trying to control what comes; I’m just letting it come and infusing it with my own special flare and detail.

How do I know that I’m doing something in the spirit of play? It’s fun! If I’m not having fun, I’m not playing–I’m approaching things from a space of “must” and “should,” and not from a space of curiosity and desire.

When we’re playing, we feel light and free. We’re filled with zeal and joy. We slip into the rhythm of the universe around us, and we feel like we’re a part of our surroundings, and not separate from them. The spirit of play is available to us at all times and in everything we do. It may not feel this way precisely because we take our lives (and ourselves) so seriously. We form attachments to the outcomes of our efforts. We blame ourselves for not being whatever we wish we were. We worry about the future. We cling to the past. We let fear creep in and high-jack our consciousness. We chastise ourselves for not being productive or accomplished (as if productivity and accomplishment were the point of being alive). We constantly forget that the moment is all that we have, and in forgetting this, we fail to enjoy it.

It’s time to make time for play, Beauty. Play is not a luxury—it is a birthright. It is essential. It is the source of beauty, grace, and joy.

xoxo Jessi

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