Play as a Balancing Act

Photo by Robert Collins

At the beginning of 2019 I made a pact that I would play at least once/month.

I was feeling serious most of the time, and burnout was lurking in the background. I knew I needed to make some changes, but the old self-care ideas were not going to cut it. I get bodywork each month, I get enough sleep, I meditate daily, and I have support people in my life. Each of these forms of care are useful in sustaining me doing the work I am passionate about in the world, but I was not smiling or fully belly laughing as much. I decided to add play to my life. Some of my play dates included roller skating, indoor sky diving, an inner child picnic, tubing, a game night and soon trampolining!

In the Yoga Sutras there is a concept called Kriya Yoga, which has three components (tapas=work or heat, svadhyaya=self-study and isvara pranidhana=surrender).

My life had become out of balance with too much work, striving and analysis and I needed a little more surrender. Play became my way to surrender. 

Play, as a form of surrender, I am learning is an embodied experience. It is not structured like a yoga asana class where I am learning to put my body in particular shapes. It is freeing and unencumbered. It can feel wild like indoor sky diving, but it can also be relaxing on a river while the current takes me along for a ride. It has a childlike quality to it that I do not experience often. 

Rebecca Solnit says, “Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.” Although play and joy feel different to me, joy is one of the feelings evoked when I engage in play.

I love hearing how others play! What do you do to play and/or surrender?