I have been fortunate. I kept playing as a teenager through improvised theatre spending hundreds or thousands of hours exloring this instread of going down the prescribed and for me totally uninteresting and mainstream route of acadmeic study. From 14-18 years old, I was learning how to express emotion, sense subtle changes in atmosphere and take risks with others because I was grew up in a city and at the exact time that theatre improvisation was being pioneered amongst teenagers. My teachers were being trained by Keith Johnston (a founder of improvisation) at the Royal Court Theatre in London, so everything the actors of the day were playing with, we were playing with a few weeks later.
I now make my living in a way that often involves play. It has shown me how to free myself and others again and again. But more than this I see that play is really a way of being that lets us unfold life from the inside. When we play, we are in the body and in the heart. There is an aliveness, unfolding through us, as us, which has no limits. We are not in our thinking habits when we play, we are embodied. Here is a way into the flow state where we have access to integration, information, answers, ideas, energy, joy, to living out of the box. Here is freedom, a feeling of being without care, of living in trust. When we play, and I mean actually DO it, we are radiating light and energy.
But it is more than this. I believe that practicing play is a key to our existential stress. When we live in terror of ‘what might happen’ our immune systems are compromised and we are locked out from new ways, new solutions. We cannot think our way out of all the difficult situations. When we play our energy expands and lifts so we rise up above the problem, and operate from the place where the answers lay. From a new perspective, living in the heart, soul and body there IS opening. And when we play for pleasure rather than in competition we are also evolve the group mind, we are beyond the ego and open to a vast intelligence that CAN shift us, shift culture, shift the world.
This is not by the way a quick fix to avoid pain. We have to be willing to face resistance, fear, vulnerability, confusion and more along the way. There are difficult moments for sure. But they are moments and they pass and being able to play and know that things are shifting helps also build the capacity to hold difficulty too. So we can naviagate both the challenge and be open to fully engage the spaciousness, freedom, rest, peace, joy and deepen our trust in life.
I have been observing this in my own life and through the workshops I have developed for about 30 years. I believe there is a momentum building. Many people feel it…the adjustments that are necessary. The shifts that need to happen inside ourselves, facing the darkness and challeges in side in order to bring about a real shift outside. And I feel that being able to play gives us energy, inspiration, courage and access to do the difficult work, as individuals and as groups.
I want to pass on what I have developed to as many people as possible. So if you are part of a team or group who are wanting to unblock, unlearn ways of being that don’t work anymore, or you feel energy in your body as you read this, then please be in touch with me.
I want to colloborate with you in an expanded field of consciousness with play as a key appraoch. Come join. Get on the mailing list at www.thefoolstory.com, come to a workshop or invite me in so I can bring what I have been gifted with to make as big a difference as possible.
We can all begin this. You do not need to be an extrovert. You do not need to have done anything like this before. I have worked with people in their 80’s and with people who for whatever reason never had the opportunity to play earlier in life.
Academics, professionals, therapists, ‘The Awaken Project’, Scotland, May – August, 2014.