November 02 2016

The Joy of Play

How can we forget the joy of play? Playing with your whole body (like tag) brings a greater joy. Working with a group towards the goal of fun (heart-rate up, eyes shining, smiles uncontrollable) is something I highly recommend.

I just started Drama Facilitator training with NAYD (the National Association for Youth Drama) in Ireland. And boy, I’ve had so much resistance. But I figure, if I’m there I might as well give it my all and so I’ve thrown myself in and been given a huge gift: experiencing the joy of play. The desire to bring more play into my acting drove me to create Story Haven with Amy Elise de Jong back in 2010. We created a drama/story curriculum for young people that encouraged play and creativity over performance. It was just what my soul needed at the time. Now nearly seven years on, I am getting an unexpected jolt that goes beyond my acting.

This joy of play has a broader application too – life. Yes! What if life is always giving us “offers” (a.k.a. opportunities) just like the best improvisation? As adults (and even as children) we tend to delineate between good and bad offers and more often than not we say “no.” So what if we tune in more fully to that little voice inside that is willing to dare to be different, to step out of our comfort zone and to take an offer and courageously say “YES” even if you don’t know where it is going to lead. I think we would all be surprised by what LIFE has for us. And yes, sometimes the offer comes by as a delay or a death or a break-up, and we should mourn what we need to mourn. But even then, maybe we should be asking, where is the opportunity in this?

And it doesn’t even matter if we get it right! Maybe we misread the offer, say yes and find ourselves on a completely unknown, unexpected and unfamiliar path. And that’s okay too. Sometimes getting it wrong is the disguise for inspiration for those around you, because this life is not lived in isolation and reaching out and saving a friend is just as important as saving ourselves! So next time the opportunity to play comes up, say YES, and dive in. You will not be disappointed!! Laughter is the best medicine and the great connector.