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The Rhythm of Play

I've been looking at this picture and thinking about joy, playfulness, and the lighthearted parts of being alive. There are countless ways we can talk about the human struggle. And there are also countless ways we can count the glimmers of play flickering all around us. This is why I talk about “paying attention” and “noticing” as portals to discovery. With practiced attention, we can discover the capacity to feel light because this whole human thing can feel heavy pretty easily. It can quite seamlessly and unexpectedly slip into a deep sense of gravity, so why not equip ourselves with some levity? After all, we can’t change that the gravity is there. Gravity is a law of being no matter what, so how do we employ weightlessness in the face of it? I argue it’s play.

What’s the rhythm of your play? When does it happen for you? Do you joke around with colleagues or people you encounter while running errands? Do you sing out loud in the car when your jam comes on? Do you play on a team sport? Do you have rituals of play in your routine? These aren’t always so obvious. They aren’t always about jokes, singing, or athletics. They can be subtle. They can be the way you brush your teeth in the morning and giggle at your weird foaming mouth. They can be the dance moves you inevitably find yourself doing when cooking throughout the entirety of the kitchen. They can be the way you carry yourself when you cross a street, skipping or mimicking Abbey Road.

Whatever the play is in your life, I encourage you to acknowledge it. Give it a little wink and a nod each time it comes up and begin to notice how frequently you encounter the glimmers. Over time you may discover more glimmers of play flickering around you and realize that it's embedded into your everyday routine in places you never thought to consider. And the more we can recognize play in this way, the more space we may give it in our lives. And while that gravitational pull of a heavy life may still be present, we’ll have a well-oiled machine of lightheartedness to employ in the face of it.

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