May 7

Hang around doggies and kids;
they know how to play.

Geoffrey Godbey


Today's Meditation:

I've been to a lot of social events in my life--picnics and cookouts and other such things.  One thing that I always find when I'm at those events is that I'm always drawn to the children for one simple reason--they're usually playing and having fun, while the adults tend to sit around and talk about the same things that they talk about at every such occasion.  In short, the kids are much, much more fun, mostly because they still like to play.

I do enjoy sitting down and talking to people and sharing ideas with them, and I do recognize that there is a great deal of value in doing so.  But very often, I need a break from the type of thinking that I need to focus strongly on, and I need to just share other people's company through having fun.  And since I tend to look at kids as other people who just happen to be younger than I, their company to me is just as valuable and enjoyable as that of adults.

Geoffrey doesn't give us this advice on a whim--this advice has been around for as long as people have.  He recognizes the importance of play in our lives, the importance of rejuvenating ourselves constantly through play and sharing play.  He recognizes that most of us spend most of our time around adults, doing adult things, and that we've completely left behind those days when we were in tune with the world and what it has to offer, when we used this wonderful energy that we've been given for something very, very important:  fun and play.

Young dogs and kids make play an art, and they do it with many of the traits that definitely could enrich our lives:  enthusiasm, energy, excitement, and a predisposition for exploration.  If we could bring those four traits to all that we do in life, just how would we do all that we do?  We certainly have good role models all around us, if we but take the chance to learn from them.

Questions to consider:

Why do most adults put play aside after a certain age?  What do we gain from doing so?

What kinds of things might we learn from kids if we do take the opportunities to hang around with them?

What's important about knowing how to play?  Why do so many adults feel that alcohol is a necessary ingredient of "play"?

For further thought:

Why is play so elusive for some grown-ups?  Because we are so strongly attracted and attached to a profoundly goal-oriented, work-ethic-driven society.  Like other forms of non-work, play connotes wastefulness, a stoppage in the way of what needs to get done.  Yet often what really needs to get done has more to do with our hearts and spirits and less to do with a deadline or longstanding project.  Play beckons to us, urging us to live in the present moment, a moment that becomes more luminous when we disallow interruptions like work and worry.

Leslie Levine


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